Intra- and inter-task reliability of spatial attention measures in healthy older adults

Autoři: Gesine Märker aff001;  Gemma Learmonth aff001;  Gregor Thut aff001;  Monika Harvey aff002
Působiště autorů: Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom aff001;  School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226424


At present, there is a lack of systematic investigation into intra- and inter-task consistency effects in older adults, when investigating lateralised spatial attention. In young adults, spatial attention typically manifests itself in a processing advantage for the left side of space (“pseudoneglect”), whereas older adults have been reported to display no strongly lateralised bias, or a preference towards the right side. Building on our earlier study in young adults, we investigated older adults, aged between 60 to 86 years, on five commonly used spatial attention tasks (line bisection, landmark, grey and grating scales and lateralised visual detection). Results confirmed a stable test-retest reliability for each of the five spatial tasks across two testing days. However, contrary to our expectations of a consistent lack in bias or a rightward bias, two tasks elicited significant left spatial biases in our sample of older participants, in accordance with pseudoneglect (namely the line bisection and greyscales tasks), while the other three tasks (landmark, grating scales, and lateralised visual detection tasks) showed no significant biases to either side of space. This lack of inter-task correlations replicates recent findings in young adults. Comparing the two age groups revealed that only the landmark task was age sensitive, with a leftward bias in young adults and an eliminated bias in older adults. In view of these findings of no significant inter-task correlations, as well as the inconsistent directions of the observed spatial biases for the older adults across the five tested tasks, we argue that pseudoneglect is a multi-component phenomenon and highly task sensitive. Each task may engage slightly distinct neural mechanisms, likely to be impacted differently by age. This complicates generalisation and comparability of pseudoneglect effects across different tasks, age-groups and hence studies.

Klíčová slova:

Age groups – Aging – Attention – Elderly – Right hemisphere – Vision – Visual acuity – Young adults


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2019 Číslo 12