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Psychol Aging. 2006 Dec;21(4):754-62.

Visual search for change in older adults.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Washington University, St Louis, MO 63130, USA.


Previous research has demonstrated that younger adults are surprisingly poor at detecting substantial changes to visual scenes. Little is known, however, about age differences in this phenomenon. In the 2 experiments reported here, older adults were slower than younger adults in detecting changes to simple visual stimuli. This age difference was beyond what would be expected given known age-related changes in processing speed. Examination of eye movement behavior during the search for change suggested that age-related changes in the useful field of view and degree of cautiousness play a significant role. Speed of processing and 3 age-related eye movement behaviors explained 85% of the variance in change detection latency, eliminating the effect of age.

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