Effects of ageing on the rate of visual information processing: a speed-accuracy trade-off (SAT) analysis

Duncan Guest, Christina Howard, Louise A. Brown, Harriet Gleeson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Age related decline has been observed for a number of different types of processing speed (Salthouse, 2000), including psychophysical processing speed (the speed at which a representation of a physical stimulus can be formed). Although aging influences speed-accuracy trade-off (Starns & Ratcliff, 2010), rarely have estimates of psychophysical processing speed been derived from studies using a speed-accuracy tradeoff methodology that examines the time course of task performance. In three experiments a speed-accuracy trade-off design was used that required identification of gabor patch orientation after differing amounts of stimulus exposure. Modelling speed-accuracy trade-off functions enabled estimation of the rate of visual information processing in a task with a single stimulus (Experiment 1), distracting stimuli (Experiment 2) or two stimuli with the target being post cued on stimulus offset (Experiment 3). Older adults displayed a deficit in visual information processing only when interfering items were present, suggesting difficulties with inhibiting distracting items and encoding and maintaining multiple distinct object representations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2013
EventExperimental Psychology Society: Lancaster Meeting - Lancaster, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201312 Apr 2013


ConferenceExperimental Psychology Society
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • ageing
  • psychophysical processing speed
  • speed-accuracy tradeoff methodology
  • task performance


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