Mobility Enhancement & Vision Rehabilitation Publications
Age doesn't matter much: hybrid visual and memory search is preserved in older adults. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 2019;:1-34.Abstract.
We tested younger and older observers' attention and long-term memory functions in a "hybrid search" task, in which observers look through visual displays for instances of any of several types of targets held in memory. Apart from a general slowing, search efficiency did not change with age. In both age groups, reaction times increased linearly with the visual set size and logarithmically with the memory set size, with similar relative costs of increasing load (Experiment 1). We replicated the finding and further showed that performance remained comparable between age groups when familiarity cues were made irrelevant (Experiment 2) and target-context associations were to be retrieved (Experiment 3). Our findings are at variance with theories of cognitive aging that propose age-specific deficits in attention and memory. As hybrid search resembles many real-world searches, our results might be relevant to improve the ecological validity of assessing age-related cognitive decline.