The Dynamics of Attention and Aging
There is perhaps not a more laudable goal in engineering psychology than performance prediction. As many of the pioneers recognized, useful predictions are derived from scientific principles. This chapter examines the extent to which the performance predictions of Christopher Wickens' multiple-resource theory are upheld in the midst of many debates about the nature of the attention construct. Because generalizability to individuals of varied characteristics is one of the best indicators of the robustness of any cognitive theory, the current chapter also examines the extent to which the multiple-resource predictions could accommodate age-related changes in time-sharing and the moderation of the age effects by expertise. It provides a critical review of models of attention and, more specifically, of attentional control during the performance of multiple concurrent tasks in the context of aging. It then goes on to discuss the results of a number of studies during which converging operations are used to localize age-related costs in multitask processing within the context of Wickens' model.
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