Growing older does not always mean moving slower: Examining aging and the saccadic motor system

Jay Pratt, Michael Dodd, Timothy Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Although humans typically move more slowly as they age, one exception may be the saccadic motor system. To fully determine whether the execution of saccades is affected by age, the authors examined detailed kinematics of vertical and horizontal saccades across a range of saccadic amplitudes (4°, 8°, and 12°). Ten younger and 20 older adults participated in each experiment. Whereas in the 1st experiment, the authors assessed volitionally generated saccades, in the 2nd experiment, they evaluated reflexively generated saccades. The results of those experiments showed that the saccadic motor system is relatively impervious to the effects of aging; in fact, the differences between vertical and horizontal saccades were more evident than were differences between saccades produced by younger and older adults. The authors discuss possible reasons for that relative resistance to aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Eye movements
  • Kinematics
  • Saccades

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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