Huizeling, E.; Wang, H.; Holland, C.; Kessler, K. Age-Related Changes in Attentional Refocusing during Simulated Driving. Brain Sci.2020, 10, 530.
Huizeling, E.; Wang, H.; Holland, C.; Kessler, K. Age-Related Changes in Attentional Refocusing during Simulated Driving. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 530.
We recently reported that refocusing attention between temporal and spatial tasks becomes more difficult with increasing age, which could impair daily activities such as driving (Callaghan et al., 2017). Here we investigated the extent to which difficulties in refocusing attention extend to naturalistic settings such as simulated driving. 118 participants in five age groups (18-30; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69; 70-91 years) were compared during simulated driving, where they switched from a spatially focal yet temporally complex task (braking due to traffic ahead) to a spatially more distributed task (reading a motorway road sign). Sequential-Task (switching) performance was compared to Single-Task performance (road sign only) to calculate age-related switch-costs. Electroencephalography was recorded in 34 participants (17 in the 18-30 and 17 in the 60+ years groups) to explore age-related changes in the neural oscillatory signatures of refocusing attention while driving. We indeed observed age-related impairments in attentional refocusing, evidenced by increased switch-costs in response times and by deficient modulation of theta and alpha frequencies. Our findings highlight virtual reality (VR) and Neuro-VR as important methodologies for future psychological and gerontological research.
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