Differential aging of motion processing mechanisms: Evidence against general perceptual decline

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While the percentage of older people in our society is steadily increasing, knowledge about perceptual changes during healthy aging is still limited. We investigated age effects on visual motion perception in order to differentiate between general decline and specific vulnerabilities. A total of 119 subjects ranging in age from 20 to 82 years participated in our study. Perceptual thresholds for different types of motion information, including translational motion, expanding radial flow, and biological motion, were determined. Results revealed a substantial increase of thresholds for translational motion with age. Biological motion perception was only moderately affected by age. For both motion types, threshold elevation seemed to develop gradually with age. In contrast, we found stable radial flow analysis across lifespan. There was no evidence that age effects were dependent on gender. Results demonstrate that visual capabilities are not equally prone to age-related decline. Surprisingly, higher motion complexity might not be necessarily associated with more pronounced perceptual constraints. We suggest that differential age effects on the perception of specific motion types might indicate that specialized neuronal processing mechanisms differ in their vulnerability to physiological changes during aging. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Billino, J., Bremmer, F., & Gegenfurtner, K. R. (2008). Differential aging of motion processing mechanisms: Evidence against general perceptual decline. Vision Research, 48(10), 1254–1261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2008.02.014

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