Age-related effects in the marking of old objects in visual search

Arthur F. Kramer, Paul Atchley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two studies were performed to examine potential age-related differences in visual marking. Visual marking is a limited capacity process that enhances visual search through the inhibition of old objects. In Experiment 1, young and old adults performed three different search conditions: a full-element baseline, a half-element baseline, and a gap condition in which they searched through displays similar to the full-element baseline condition but with half of the letters presented before and the other half of the letters and the target presented after a 1000-ms gap. Both old and young adults displayed search slopes in the gap condition that were equivalent to slopes obtained in the half-element condition, suggesting that they were able to successfully inhibit the old letters. In Experiment 2, old and young adults also performed in three different visual search conditions but in this case with targets defined either by a form difference or by a conjunction of form and color. Both old and young adults showed a reduced slope in the gap as compared to the conjunction condition, suggesting inhibition of the old objects. The data are discussed in terms of age-related differences in the top-down control of attention in visual search.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-296
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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