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December 2021

Age-related changes in processing auditory stimuli during visual attention: Evidence for deficits in inhibitory control and sensory memory

Author(s): Woods, D. L.

Journal/Book: Psychol Aging. 1999; 14: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 507-519.

Abstract: Age-related declines in attention and cognition have been associated with a difficulty in inhibiting the processing of task-irrelevant information (i.e., the inhibitory deficit hypothesis). However, evidence supporting the inhibitory deficit hypothesis remains equivocal, in part because of complexities in examining the processing of irrelevant stimuli using purely behavioral techniques. The effects of age on the processing of task-irrelevant stimuli were examined using scalp-recorded event-related brain potentials. Participants performed a visual discrimination task while standard and deviant auditory stimuli were presented in the background. Deviant auditory stimuli generated a mismatch negativity (MMN) wave that decreased with age, in part because of an age-related enhancement in sensory-evoked responses. The age-related changes in processing task-irrelevant auditory stimuli are consistent with the inhibitory deficit hypothesis and suggest that impaired inhibitory control of sensory input may play a role in the age-related declines in performance during selective attention tasks.

Note: Article Alain C, Baycrest Ctr Geriatr Care, Rotman Res Inst, 3560 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M6A 2E1, CANADA

Keyword(s): EVENT-RELATED POTENTIALS; INTERMODAL SELECTIVE ATTENTION; DISTRIBUTED CORTICAL NETWORK; MISMATCH NEGATIVITY; INTRACEREBRAL POTENTIALS; EVOKED-POTENTIALS; BRAIN POTENTIALS; ELDERLY SUBJECTS; RARE TARGET; CORTEX


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