Aging and Attention

Arthur F. Kramer, Jutta Kray

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reviews and critiques the scientific literature that has examined changes in attention due to aging At a global level, the chapter focuses on two different varieties of attention: selective attention and divided attention In general, selective attention refers to the ability to both focus on information of relevance to the organism and exclude or ignore information that is task irrelevant Divided attention entails the ability concurrently to attend and to process information from a wide area of the visual field or concurrently perform or switch among different skills or tasks Both selective and divided attention may result from either goal-directed or stimulus-driven processes Goal-directed attention refers to an individual's ability to intentionally and selectively process information in the environment In contrast, stimulus-driven attention entails the control of attention by characteristics of the environment, independent of an observer's intentions, expectancies, or experience This chapter looks at research that has explored how these processes change over the adult lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLifespan Cognition
Subtitle of host publicationMechanisms of Change
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199847204
ISBN (Print)9780195169539
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012


  • Aging
  • Divided attention
  • Goal-directed attention
  • Lifespan
  • Selective attention
  • Stimulus-driven attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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