Dror, Itiel E. and Kosslyn, Stephen M.
Mental imagery and aging
Psychology and Aging, 9, (1), .
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Young adult (aged 18-23 yrs) and elderly (aged 55-71 yrs) Ss performed 4 visual mental imagery tasks, each of which tapped different processes. The elderly had relatively impaired image rotation and image activation (the process of accessing and activating stored visual memories), and there was a hint that aging may impair the ability to maintain images. In contrast, the elderly were able to compose (the process of generating the segments of the shape, one by one) and scan visual mental images as well as young adults. However, when the authors correlated the mean performance of each age group across all the tasks, they found that the reaction times (RTs) of the elderly were almost perfectly predicted by the performance of the young Ss but that the error rates were not correlated. These findings suggest that although there is slowing with age, individual imagery processes are affected selectively by aging.
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