Older adults (>60 years) show attentional deficits in comparison to younger people (18-30 years). As beta-band EEG activity has been previously postulated to indicate attentional modulation in the visual system, we searched for possible deficits in beta power in elderly subjects performing an attentional task with spatial differentiation between visual stimuli. We found that in older adults a lower level of beta activity correlated with decreased behavioral performance. As compared to young subjects, older adults expressed decreased activation in beta band during an attentional task, which displayed two different dynamics during the anticipatory period. Those dynamics were accompanied by one of two different behavioral pattern deficits. We hypothesize that one group of elderly participants suffered from difficulty in the activation of attentional processes (alertness deficits), while the other--from difficulty in sustaining those processes (vigilance deficits).
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