Age-related Differences and Similarities in Dual-Task Interference

Document Type



Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Differences between younger adults (mean age, 20.7 years) and older adults (mean age, 72.7 years) in dual-task performance were examined in 7 experiments in which the overlap between 2 simple tasks was systematically varied. The results were better fit by a task-switching model in which age was assumed to produce generalized slowing than by a shared-capacity model in which age was assumed to reduce processing resources. The functional architecture of task processing appears the same in younger and older adults. There was no evidence for a specific impairment in the ability of older adults to manage simultaneous tasks. There was evidence for both input and output interference, which may be greater in older adults.

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© 1999 American Psychological Association

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