Age Differences and Similarities in the Effects of Cues and Prompts

Student Co-author

Pitzer Undergraduate

Document Type



Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


A series of 6 experiments investigated the use of cues and prompts by younger and older adults. Cues provide useful information about an impending target, even though the information is not always valid. Prompts provide an instruction about what aspect of the target is to be responded to. The costs and benefits of cues were most consistent with models in which the attentional resources that are shifted in response to the cue were as large or larger in older adults as they were in younger adults. The results with both cues and prompts converged on the conclusion that the time course of processing and using a cue or prompt is the same in younger and older adults. The attentional resources tapped by these procedures cannot be the diminished processing resource to which many age differences in cognitive performance are attributed.

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© 2013 American Psychological Association

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