Ageing and visual spatiotemporal processing
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Ageing affects many visual functions. Here, we investigated the effects of ageing on vernier acuity and backward masking using the shine-through paradigm. We divided healthy older adults (>60 years) into two groups depending on whether vernier duration was comparable to younger adults (Older Adults 1) or not (Older Adults 2). Backward masking was deteriorated for Older Adults 2 but not for Older Adults 1. In addition, by using complex masking gratings, we found deficits in spatial and temporal vision in Older Adults 2, which cannot be explained by deteriorated visual acuity, pointing to cortical rather than retinal causes. Our results highlight the importance of taking into account individual differences in visual ageing research. In addition, our results have important implications for schizophrenia. Schizophrenia has been suggested to be a form of early brain ageing. Linking our current masking results in ageing to previous masking results in schizophrenia shows that schizophrenia is not a form of early ageing, at least not in the visual domain.
KeywordsAgeing Visual perception Spatial processing Temporal processing Spatiotemporal Schizophrenia
We would like to thank Marc Repnow for his help in setting up the experiments. This work was supported by the research grant “Perception, cognition and healthy brain aging” of the VELUX Foundation. Michael Herzog is a member of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Project Synapsy.
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