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Psychol Aging. 2002 Mar;17(1):24-43.

Aging and attentional guidance during visual search: functional neuroanatomy by positron emission tomography.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to examine adult age differences in neural activation during visual search. Target detection was less accurate for older adults than for younger adults, but both age groups were successful in using color to guide attention to a subset of display items. Increasing perceptual difficulty led to greater activation of occipitotemporal cortex for younger adults than for older adults, apparently as the result of older adults maintaining higher levels of activation within the easier task conditions. The results suggest that compensation for age-related decline in the efficiency of occipitotemporal cortical functioning was implemented by changes in the relative level of activation within this visual processing pathway, rather than by the recruitment of other cortical regions.

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