Aging and motor variability: A test of the neural noise hypothesis

Jacob J. Sosnoff, Karl M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Experimental tests of the neural noise hypothesis of aging, which holds that aging-related increments in motor variability are due to increases in white noise in the perceptual-motor system, were conducted. Young (20-29 years old) and old (60-69 and 70-79 years old) adults performed several perceptual-motor tasks. Older adults were progressively more variable in their performance outcome, but there was no age-related difference in white noise in the motor output. Older adults had a greater frequency-dependent structure in their motor variability that was associated with performance decrements. The findings challenge the main tenet of the neural noise hypothesis of aging in that the increased variability of older adults was due to a decreased ability to adapt to the constraints of the task rather than an increment of neural noise per se.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-397
Number of pages21
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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