Designing warnings to compensate for age-related changes in perceptual and cognitive abilities

Gabriel K. Rousseau, Nina Lamson, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A variety of individual difference variables affect whether or not someone notices, encodes, comprehends, and complies with a warning. Failures at any of these stages reduce the effectiveness of warnings. Development of effective warnings must be based on understanding the characteristics of the product user. As the population grows older, consideration of age-related changes in perceptual and cognitive abilities becomes more relevant to the warning designer. For example, aging researchers have identified a variety of changes in the visual system (e.g., acuity, contrast sensitivity, and color discrimination) and cognitive function (e.g., working memory and reading comprehension). By considering the abilities of the product user, the impact of these age-related changes may be minimized. The goal of this article is to describe findings from research on aging and to make recommendations about how designers can increase the effectiveness of warnings for the older adult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-662
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

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