Psychological Research

, Volume 80, Issue 4, pp 660–676 | Cite as

Age-related differences in the P3 amplitude in change blindness

  • Katharina Bergmann
  • Anna-Lena Schubert
  • Dirk Hagemann
  • Andrea Schankin
Original Article


Observers often miss visual changes in the environment when they co-occur with other visual disruptions. This phenomenon is called change blindness. Previous research has shown that change blindness increases with age. The aim of the current study was to explore the role of post-perceptual stimulus processing in age differences. Therefore, the P3 component of the event-related potential was measured while younger, middle-aged, and older participants performed a change detection task under different task demands. Older adults detected fewer changes than younger adults, even when the task was very easy. Detected changes elicited greater P3 amplitudes than undetected changes in younger adults. This effect was reduced or even absent for middle-aged and older participants, irrespective of task demands. Because this P3 effect is supposed to reflect participants’ confidence in change detection, less confidence in own responses may explain the decline of change detection performance in normal aging.



Anna-Lena Schubert, Institute of Psychology, University of Heidelberg; Dirk Hagemann, Institute of Psychology, University of Heidelberg; Andrea Schankin, Institute of Psychology, University of Heidelberg and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany. This research was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) to Andrea Schankin (SCHA 1483/2-1 and SCHA 1483/2-2).

Ethical standard

All human studies have been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All persons gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study. Details that might disclose the identity of the subjects under study were omitted. The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Bergmann
    • 1
  • Anna-Lena Schubert
    • 1
  • Dirk Hagemann
    • 1
  • Andrea Schankin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany

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