Age slowing down in detection and visual discrimination under varying presentation times

Carmen Moret-Tatay, Lenin Guillermo Lemus-Zúñiga, Diana Abad Tortosa, Daniel Gamermann, Andrea Vázquez-Martínez, Esperanza Navarro-Pardo, J. Alberto Conejero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The reaction time has been described as a measure of perception, decision making, and other cognitive processes. The aim of this work is to examine age-related changes in executive functions in terms of demand load under varying presentation times. Two tasks were employed where a signal detection and a discrimination task were performed by young and older university students. Furthermore, a characterization of the response time distribution by an ex-Gaussian fit was carried out. The results indicated that the older participants were slower than the younger ones in signal detection and discrimination. Moreover, the differences between both processes for the older participants were higher, and they also showed a higher distribution average except for the lower and higher presentation time. The results suggest a general slowdown in both tasks for age under different presentation times, except for the cases where presentation times were lower and higher. Moreover, if these parameters are understood to be a reflection of executive functions, these findings are consistent with the common view that age-related cognitive deficits show a decline in this function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • age-related differences
  • discrimination
  • distribution components
  • Signal detection


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