Visual memories for perceived length are well preserved in older adults

Vision Res. 2011 Sep 15;51(18):2057-62. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2011.07.022. Epub 2011 Aug 5.


Three experiments compared younger (mean age was 23.7years) and older (mean age was 72.1years) observers' ability to visually discriminate line length using both explicit and implicit standard stimuli. In Experiment 1, the method of constant stimuli (with an explicit standard) was used to determine difference thresholds, whereas the method of single stimuli (where the knowledge of the standard length was only implicit and learned from previous test stimuli) was used in Experiments 2 and 3. The study evaluated whether increases in age affect older observers' ability to learn, retain, and utilize effective implicit visual standards. Overall, the observers' length difference thresholds were 5.85% of the standard when the method of constant stimuli was used and improved to 4.39% of the standard for the method of single stimuli (a decrease of 25%). Both age groups performed similarly in all conditions. The results demonstrate that older observers retain the ability to create, remember, and utilize effective implicit standards from a series of visual stimuli.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Reference Standards
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Size Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology
  • Young Adult