Age-related differences in visual perception: a PET study

Neurobiol Aging. Jul-Aug 2000;21(4):577-84. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(00)00144-5.


To assess age-related differences in cortical activation during form perception, two classes of visual textures were shown to young and older subjects undergoing positron emission tomography (PET). Subjects viewed even textures that were rich in rectangular blocks and extended contours and random textures that lacked these organized form elements. Within-group significant increases in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during even stimulation relative to random stimulation in young subjects were seen in occipital, inferior and medial temporal regions, and cerebellum, and in older subjects, in posterior occipital and frontal regions. Group by texture type interactions revealed significantly smaller rCBF increases in older subjects relative to young in occipital and medial temporal regions. These results indicate that young subjects activate the occipitotemporal pathway during form perception, whereas older subjects activate occipital and frontal regions. The between-group differences suggest that age-related reorganization of cortical activation occur during early visual processes in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*