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October 2021

Inhibition and aging: Similarities between younger and older adults as revealed by the processing of unattended auditory information

Author(s): McDowd, J. M., Wilcox, K. A.

Journal/Book: Psychol Aging. 1999; 14: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 44-59.

Abstract: The ability to selectively attend to an auditory stimulus appears to decline with age and may result from losses in the ability to inhibit the processing of irrelevant stimuli (i.e., the inhibitory deficit hypothesis; L. Hasher &: R. T. Zacks, 1988). It is also possible that declines in the ability to selectively attend are a result of age-related hearing losses. Three experiments examined whether older and younger adults differed in their ability to inhibit the processing of distracting stimuli when the listening situation was adjusted to correct for individual differences in hearing. In all 3 experiments, younger and older adults were equally affected by irrelevant stimuli, unattended stimuli, or both. The implications for auditory attention research and for possible differences between auditory and visual processing are discussed.

Note: Article Murphy DR, Univ Toronto, Dept Psychol, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, CANADA

Keyword(s): INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES; ACCIDENT INVOLVEMENT; SELECTIVE ATTENTION; HEARING; NOISE; AGE; INTELLIGIBILITY; DIFFICULTIES; DISTRACTION; RECOGNITION


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