Age-related changes in the control of attention in depth

Paul Atchley, Arthur F. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2 experiments, the authors examined the control of spatial attention in depth in advanced age. Observers viewed 2 sets of lines that overlapped in two-dimensional (2-D) space but that were presented at different depth locations. An exogenous cue indicated the depth at which a colored target line would appear. On some trials, a distracting colored element was also presented. The luminance of this distracter varied from high to low. For both older and younger adults, distractors slowed reaction time less if they were at a different depth from the target. This effect was more robust for older adults with low-luminance distractors, indicating an important role for target features as well as attentional control. Adding another feature (i.e., color) that distinguished between target and distracter reduced the effects of slowing shown by the older observers and eliminated the cost of low-luminance distractors for all observers. The results suggest that attentional control in depth is maintained in aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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