Age Differences in Dual-Task Interference are Localized to Response-Generation Processes

Document Type



Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Dual-task differences in younger and older adults were explored by presenting 2 simple tasks, with the onset of the 2nd task relative to the 1st task carefully controlled. The possibility of an age-related reduction in the ability to generate and execute 2 similar motor programs was explored by requiring either a manual response to both tasks or a manual response to the 1st and an oral response to the 2nd and was confirmed by the evidence. The age-related interference was greater than would be expected from a general slowing of processing in older adults. The possibility of an age-related reduction in the capacity to process 2 tasks in the same perceptual input modality was explored by presenting both tasks in the visual modality or the 1st task in the auditory modality and the 2nd task in the visual modality and was not supported by the evidence. There was greater interference when both tasks were in the same modality, but it was equivalent for older and younger adults. Age differences in dual-task interference appear quite localized to response-generation processes.

Rights Information

© 2001 American Psychological Association

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.