A diffusion model analysis of the effects of aging on brightness discrimination

Percept Psychophys. 2003 May;65(4):523-35. doi: 10.3758/bf03194580.


The effects of aging on decision time were examined in a brightness discrimination experiment with young and older subjects (ages, 60-75 years). Results showed that older subjects were slightly slower than young subjects but just as accurate. Ratcliff's (1978) diffusion model was fit to the data, and it provided a good account of response times, their distributions, and response accuracy. There was a 50-msec slowing of the nondecision components of response time for older subjects relative to young subjects, but response criteria settings and rates of accumulation of evidence from stimuli were roughly equal for the two groups. These results are contrasted with those obtained from letter discrimination and signal-detection-like tasks.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reaction Time