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Psychol Aging. 1991 Sep;6(3):451-66.

Age differences in the maintenance and restructuring of movement preparation.

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Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131.


In 2 experiments, elderly and young subjects performed simple reaction time, choice reaction time, and movement plan restructuring tasks, using a stimulus precuing paradigm. In Experiment 1, the precue display (200 ms) and preparation interval (250, 500, 750, or 1,000 ms) were experimentally determined. In Experiment 2, the precue display interval was subject determined. For the restructuring task, the precue specified the response on 75% of the trials, enabling movement plan preparation with respect to movement parameters of arm and direction. On remaining trials, the precue incorrectly specified the response, requiring movement plan restructuring. Elderly, but not young, subjects restructured a movement plan for direction more quickly than for arm or for both parameters. These findings indicate that elderly individuals have poorer movement plan maintenance for direction than for arm and thus exhibit functional change in movement preparation processes relative to young individuals.

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