06/02/2015 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117783 SemanticScholar ID: 10589987 MAG: 2035163215

Children and Older Adults Exhibit Distinct Sub-Optimal Cost-Benefit Functions when Preparing to Move Their Eyes and Hands

Publication Summary

Numerous activities require an individual to respond quickly to the correct stimulus. The provision of advance information allows response priming but heightened responses can cause errors (responding too early or reacting to the wrong stimulus). Thus, a balance is required between the online cognitive mechanisms (inhibitory and anticipatory) used to prepare and execute a motor response at the appropriate time. We investigated the use of advance information in 71 participants across four different age groups: (i) children, (ii) young adults, (iii) middle-aged adults, and (iv) older adults. We implemented ‘cued’ and ‘non-cued’ conditions to assess age-related changes in saccadic and touch responses to targets in three movement conditions: (a) Eyes only; (b) Hands only; (c) Eyes and Hand. Children made less saccade errors compared to young adults, but they also exhibited longer response times in cued versus non-cued conditions. In contrast, older adults showed faster responses in cued conditions but exhibited more errors. The results indicate that young adults (18–25 years) achieve an optimal balance between anticipation and execution. In contrast, children show benefits (few errors) and costs (slow responses) of good inhibition when preparing a motor response based on advance information; whilst older adults show the benefits and costs associated with a prospective response strategy (i.e., good anticipation).

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Mark Mon-Williams

Prof. Mark Mon-Williams

University of Leeds - Chair in Cognitive Psychology

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