Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 270–280 | Cite as

Auditory spatial attention capture, disengagement, and response selection in normal aging

  • Edward J. GolobEmail author
  • Jeffrey R. Mock


Attention control is a core element of cognitive aging, but the specific mechanisms that differ with age are unclear. Here we used a novel auditory spatial attention task to evaluate stimulus processing at the level of early attention capture, later response selection, and the lingering effects of attention capture across trials in young and older adults. We found that the shapes of spatial attention capture gradients were remarkably similar in young and older adults, but only the older group had lingering effects of attention capture on the next trial. Response selection for stimulus-response incompatibilities took longer in older subjects, but primarily when attending to the midline location. The results suggest that the likelihood and spatial tuning of attention capture is comparable among groups, but once attention is captured, older subjects take longer to disengage. Age differences in response selection were supported, but may not be a general feature of cognitive aging.


Inhibition Simon effect Sustained attention 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01DC014736).

Author contributions

All authors contributed to the design of the experiments. J.M. collected data. E.G. analyzed the data and wrote the initial manuscript. Both authors contributed to revising the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing financial interests

The authors have no competing financial interests.

Supplementary material

13414_2018_1611_MOESM1_ESM.docx (35 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 35 kb)


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© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas, San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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