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Psychol Aging. 2001 Jun;16(2):323-41.

The effects of aging on reaction time in a signal detection task.

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Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


The effects of aging on response time are examined in 2 simple signal detection tasks with young and older subjects (age 60 years and older). Older subjects were generally slower than young subjects, and standard Brinley plot analyses of response times showed typical results: slopes greater than 1 and (mostly) negative intercepts. R. Ratcliff, D. Spieler, and G. McKoon (2000) showed that the slopes of Brinley plots measure the relative standard deviations of the distributions of response times for older versus young subjects. Applying R. Ratcliff's (1978) diffusion model to fit the response times, their distributions, and response accuracy, it was found that the larger spread in older subjects' response times and their slowness relative to young subjects comes from a 50-ms slowing of the nondecision components of response time and more from conservative settings of response criteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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