Event-related brain potentials reveal strategy selection in younger and older adults

Daniel C. Bowie, Kathy A. Low, Monica Fabiani, Gabriele Gratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well-established that younger adults prioritize information accrued during different stages of stimulus evaluation (“early” versus “late”) to optimize performance. The extent to which older adults flexibly adjust their processing strategies, however, is largely unexplored. Twenty-four younger and twenty-four older participants completed a cued flanker task in which one of three cues, indicating the probability that a congruent array would appear (75 %, 50 %, or 25 %), was presented on each trial. Behavioral and ERP (CNV, LRP, N2, and P3b) analyses allowed us to infer cue-driven changes in strategy selection. Results indicate that when both younger and older adults expected an incongruent array, they prioritized late, target information, resulting in a decreased susceptibility to the performance-impairing effect of distractors, extending the conclusions of Gratton et al. (1992) to older adults and supporting the claim that strategic control remains largely intact during healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108163
JournalBiological Psychology
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Aging
  • Cognitive control
  • Congruency effect (CE)
  • Event related brain potentials (ERPs)
  • Lateralized readiness potential (LRP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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