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Aging and the Simon task

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2002

ROB H.J. VAN DER LUBBE
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Medical University of Lübeck, Germany Psychological Laboratory, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
ROLF VERLEGER
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Medical University of Lübeck, Germany
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Abstract

A visual Simon task was used to study the influence of aging on visuospatial attention and inhibitory control processes. Responses were much slower for elderly than for young participants. The delay in trials in which stimulus and response side did not correspond as compared to when they did correspond (the Simon effect) was larger for older people, even after correcting for general slowing due to aging. The slowing of responses reflected a slowing of internal processing, as indicated by progressively larger delays of the peak latencies of the N1, the posterior contralateral negativity (PCN), and P3. A comparison between the amplitudes of the PCN and early lateralized readiness potential (pre-LRP) indicated that transmission from posterior sites (PCN) to the motor cortex may be affected by age. The data support the view that aging affects an inhibitory process that controls direct visuomotor transmission.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 Society for Psychophysiological Research

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