Aging and the inhibition of spatial location

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1993 Dec;19(6):1238-50. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.19.6.1238.


Two experiments compared the performance of older and younger adults on a task assessing suppression (or negative priming) for location of distractors. A 3rd experiment compared the 2 age groups on suppression for location and identity of distractors such that location was irrelevant to selection and response. Older and younger adults showed location suppression across all experiments. In Experiment 3, identity suppression was found for younger but not older adults. In addition, younger adults revealed an additive effect for suppression of identity and location. Consistent evidence of inhibition of return was not found for either age group. The findings are discussed in terms of the Hasher and Zacks (1988) theory of reduced inhibitory efficiency in the elderly and in terms of neurophysiological evidence that inhibition of identity and location may function separately within the 2 cortical visual systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Attention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Space Perception*
  • Visual Perception