The Curvilinear Relationship between Age and Emotional Aperture: The Moderating Role of Agreeableness
While research suggests that normal ageing is associated with compromised divided attentional processing abilities, such studies are comparatively few in comparison to other areas of attention (e.g. selective attention). The current study sought to examine age-related effects in divided attention using a global/local paradigm in three normal healthy age groups: younger adults (20-40 years), middle-aged (40-60 years), and older adults (61-80 years). In three experiments we sought to examine the ability to process local/global stimuli, ability to divide and switch attention, as well as the influence of a cue on target performance. Experiment 1 revealed global precedence and interference for all age groups; older adults were overall significantly slower in their response times. Experiments 2 and 3 suggest an age-related impairment in dividing and switching attention, which may begin as early as middle age. The findings are considered to reflect reduced inhibitory mechanisms, as well as possible neurobiological changes in the normal ageing process.