Does age change the distribution of visual attention? A comment on McCalley, Bouwhuis, and Juola (1995)

FW Cornelissen*, AC Kooijman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    A paper, by McCalley, Bouwhuis, and Juola (1995) suggested differences between younger and older adults in the use of visual cues. Furthermore, they reported these differences could largely be attributed to diminished (peripheral al) visual proressing capacities of elderly adults. I-It re, we reanalyze the data of McCalley and colleagues emphasizing relative rather than absolute differences. We find that when doing so, the data do not reveal differences in the way older and younger adults transiently allocate attention during visual search. Contrary to the conclusions of McCalley and colleagues, the similarity between the younger and older observers is therefore independent of the characteristics of the visual information. Furthermore, in our view the data suggest that older adults have foveal rather than peripheral visual processing difficulties. The results reemphasize the importance of the analytical approach taken in aging research, We discuss the difficulties and relevance of controlling and separating visual and attentional factors in age-related studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)P187-P190
    Number of pages4
    JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May-2000


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