A dichotic listening study of attention control in older adults

Research Area: Research Year: 2008
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Andersson, M; Reinvang, I; Wehling, E; Hugdahl, Kenneth; Lundervold, A J
The influence of age on attentional control of bottom-up processing was investigated with a dichotic-listening paradigm. The typical right-ear-advantage (REA) without specific attentional instructions was used as a measure of bottom-up processing (non-forced condition). Top-down attentional control was evaluated by instructing subjects to report only the right or left ear stimulus of the dichotic pair (forced-right, forced-left conditions). Both young and old participants showed a REA in the non-forced condition and an increased REA in the forced-right condition. The old group failed, however, to use attention to modulate the REA to the same degree as the younger participants in the forced-left condition. Only the young group showed a significant left ear advantage (LEA). The results are discussed in relation to cognitive decline in normal aging and in early stages of dementia.
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