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Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age$
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John Duncan, Louise Phillips, and Peter McLeod

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.001.0001

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Aging and the ability to ignore irrelevant information in visual search and enumeration tasks

Aging and the ability to ignore irrelevant information in visual search and enumeration tasks

Chapter:
(p.59) Chapter 3 Aging and the ability to ignore irrelevant information in visual search and enumeration tasks
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Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age
Author(s):

Elizabeth A. Maylor

Derrick G. Watson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.003.0003

This chapter presents some of recent experiments exploring age-related differences in the effects of irrelevant distractors in visual search and enumeration tasks. The first study shows that age differences in the effects of irrelevant distractors can vary depending on the perceptual load of relevant processing. The second study examines the ability to selectively facilitate the processing of new visual information by ignoring old irrelevant stimuli already present in the field (visual marking) and demonstrates age preservation for stationary stimuli but marked age decrements for moving stimuli. Finally, enumeration tasks again show that older adults' overall responses are disproportionately slowed by the presence of irrelevant distractors. Moreover, distractors have unexpected effects on age differences in enumeration rates that, together with investigations of eye movements, shed light on the specific task requirements of searching for versus enumerating visual stimuli.

Keywords:   visual search, enumeration tasks, visual marking, eye movements, visual stimuli

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