Bistable perception in normal aging: perceptual reversibility and its relation to cognition
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Citation (published version)M Díaz-Santos, S Mauro, B Cao, A Yazdanbakhsh, S Neargarder, A Cronin-Golomb. 2017. "Bistable perception in normal aging: perceptual reversibility and its relation to cognition." Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp. 115 - 134.
The effects of age on the ability to resolve perceptual ambiguity are unknown, though it depends on fronto-parietal attentional networks known to change with age. We presented the bistable Necker cube to 24 middle-aged and older adults (OA; 56–78 years) and 20 younger adults (YA; 18–24 years) under passive-viewing and volitional control conditions: Hold one cube percept and Switch between cube percepts. During passive viewing, OA had longer dominance durations (time spent on each percept) than YA. In the Hold condition, OA were less able than YA to increase dominance durations. In the Switch condition, OA and YA did not differ in performance. Dominance durations in either condition correlated with performance on tests of executive function mediated by the frontal lobes. Eye movements (fixation deviations) did not differ between groups. These results suggest that OA’s reduced ability to hold a percept may arise from reduced selective attention. The lack of correlation of performance between Hold and executive-function measures suggests at least a partial segregation of underlying mechanisms.