Age-related effects in inter-trial inhibition of attention

Xiaoang Wan, Michelle Voss, Alejandro Lleras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Young and older adults indentified the shape of a color oddball in a visual search task, and both showed faster and more accurate responses when the distractor color was passively viewed in the preceding target-absent trial than when the target color was previewed. This inter-trial effect, known as the distractor previewing effect (DPE), reflects an attentional bias that prevents attention from focusing on recently inspected features that failed to produce a target. The results showed that the DPE pattern was preserved across the lifespan, and that the age-related increase in the magnitude of the DPE appeared rooted in age-related slowing, suggesting substantial sparing of this inhibitory effect in old age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-576
Number of pages15
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Aging
  • Attention
  • Distractor previewing effect (DPE)
  • Inhibition
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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