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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2007 Jul;62(4):P230-3.

The enhanced effects of pictorial distraction in older adults.

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Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria St., Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3, Canada.


Using a picture-word paradigm, we investigated age differences in distraction from to-be-ignored pictures. On each trial, participants viewed a prime word that was superimposed on an irrelevant picture, followed by a test word. The task was to determine whether the prime and test words were semantically related. The pictures were either congruent or incongruent with the response. On control trials, pictures were neutral with respect to the response. Consistent with an age-related reduction in distraction regulation, the results demonstrate an enhanced pictorial distraction effect for older adults, even after age-related general slowing was controlled for. Older adults also tended to take longer to suppress distraction from picture labels than did young adults.

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