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Vision Res. 1999 Jun;39(12):2157-64.

The effects of ageing on reaction times to motion onset.

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Istituto di Neurofisiologia del CNR, Pisa, Italy.


We have measured reaction time (RT) to motion onset in two groups of subjects (average ages: 70 and 29 years), for horizontal gratings of 1 c deg-1, modulated in either luminance or colour (equiluminant red-green), for various contrasts and speeds. For both old and young subjects, RTs depended on both speed and contrast, being faster at high speeds and high contrasts, and showed a stronger contrast dependency for chromatic gratings. The older subjects were systematically slower than the younger subjects. The difference between old and young RTs varied with condition, being 30-40 ms more at the slow than at the fast speed. The relative difference in RTs in different stimulus conditions shows that at least some of the increase in response time with age has a sensory origin. The results relate well to previous work on visual evoked potentials.

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