Age diminishes performance on an antisaccade eye movement task

Neurobiol Aging. Sep-Oct 1997;18(5):483-9. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(97)00109-7.


Tthe antisaccade eye movement task, which has been linked to frontal lobe function, presents a target in one visual field and asks subjects to move their eyes to the same location in the opposite field. The task requires inhibition of the reflexive prosaccade to the cue, initiation of the antisaccade to the opposite field, and visuo-spatial memory of the cue location. Forty-two subjects from 19-79 years of age performed this task and a control task, visually guided saccades to the cue itself, to determine which functions are affected by aging. The time to initiate antisaccades increased linearly with age at a rate greater than the time to initiate visually guided saccades. This difference suggests that the processing time to inhibit the incorrect movement to the cue is selectively increased with age. Older subjects also made more incorrect prosaccadic movements to the cue, a finding consistent with the loss of inhibitory processing capacity. The accuracy of movements did not change, which suggests that visuo-spatial memory is unaffected by aging.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cues
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*