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J Vis. 2017 Sep 1;17(11):1. doi: 10.1167/17.11.1.

Different effects of aging and gender on the temporal resolution in attentional tracking.

Author information

1
École d'optométrie, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Abstract

The current study examined the role of temporal resolution of attention in the decline in multiple object tracking abilities with healthy aging. The temporal resolution of attention is known to limit attentional tracking of one and multiple targets (Holcombe & Chen, 2013). Here, we examined whether aging is associated with a lower temporal resolution of attention when tracking one target, the efficiency of splitting attention across multiple targets, or both. Stimuli comprised three concentric rings containing five or 10 equally spaced dots. While maintaining central fixation, younger and older participants tracked a target dot on one, two, or three rings while the rings rotated around fixation in random directions for 5 s. Rotational speed was varied to estimate speed or temporal frequency thresholds in six conditions. Results showed that younger and older participants had similar temporal frequency thresholds for tracking one target, but the addition of one and two more targets reduced thresholds more in the older group compared to the younger group. Gender also affected performance, with men having higher temporal frequency thresholds than women, independently of the number of targets. These findings indicate that the temporal resolution of attention for a single target depends on gender but is not affected by aging, whereas aging specifically affects the efficiency of dividing attention across multiple targets.

PMID:
28862709
DOI:
10.1167/17.11.1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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