Aging and Visual Masking: Sensory and Attentional Factors

Paul Atchley, Lesa Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Visual tasks can yield quantitatively similar patterns of performance that reflect different underlying mechanisms in younger and older observers. In 3 experiments, we used the visual masking task of J. T. Enns and V. Di Lollo (1997) to examine 2 of these mechanisms: stimulus contrast and attention. Performance appeared to be equivalent for younger and older observers in some circumstances, although manipulation of contrast and attention suggested that older observers may use focal attention to enhance the perceptual clarity of the target. For older observers, impoverished visual representations may more readily be eliminated by manipulation of attention or by the presence of a mask, indicating that both attention and stimulus quality are important influences on performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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