Aging and Attention

Arthur F. Kramer and Jutta Kray

in Lifespan Cognition

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847204 | DOI:
Aging and Attention

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This chapter reviews and critiques the scientific literature that has examined changes in attention due to aging. At a global level, the chapter focuses on two different varieties of attention: selective attention and divided attention. In general, selective attention refers to the ability to both focus on information of relevance to the organism and exclude or ignore information that is task irrelevant. Divided attention entails the ability concurrently to attend and to process information from a wide area of the visual field or concurrently perform or switch among different skills or tasks. Both selective and divided attention may result from either goal-directed or stimulus-driven processes. Goal-directed attention refers to an individual's ability to intentionally and selectively process information in the environment. In contrast, stimulus-driven attention entails the control of attention by characteristics of the environment, independent of an observer's intentions, expectancies, or experience. This chapter looks at research that has explored how these processes change over the adult lifespan.

Keywords: aging; selective attention; divided attention; goal-directed attention; stimulus-driven attention; lifespan

Chapter.  9267 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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