Age deficits in the control of prepotent responses: evidence for an inhibitory decline

Psychol Aging. 2006 Sep;21(3):638-43. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.21.3.638.


Older adults have more difficulty than younger adults appropriately directing their behavior when the required response is in competition with a prepotent response. The authors varied the difficulty of inhibiting a prepotent eye movement response by varying the response cue (peripheral onset or central arrow). The response cue manipulation did not affect prosaccade accuracy and latency for either age group and did not affect younger adults' antisaccades. Older adults' antisaccades were slower in the peripheral cue condition than in the central arrow condition. These findings are taken as support for the inhibitory deficit hypothesis of aging (L. Hasher, R. T. Zacks, & C. P. May, 1999).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attention*
  • Cues
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Eye Movements*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Reaction Time
  • Reference Values
  • Saccades
  • Set, Psychology
  • Visual Fields