The Development of Visual Information Processes in Adulthood and Old Age

  • David A. Walsh
Part of the Advances in the Study of Communication and Affect book series (ASCA, volume 8)


The human world is a visual world. Our ability to see was important to our evolutionary past and will be important to our evolutionary future. Locating prey and escaping predators may be less important in the industrial societies of the twentieth century than they were in our past, but other visual tasks have become important. Adults in the modern world must deal with visual tasks never imagined by even our recent ancestors. The development of high speed transportation systems allows us to travel rapidly through a diversity of environments. These developments have created heavy visual monitoring demands for drivers, pedestrians, pilots, and air traffic controllers. They have increased the demands for acquiring spatial layout information and using the visual information that supports moving about in an urban environment. The industrial world has broadened the need for education and educational materials. While adults in modern society may spend little time tracking animals across fields, they spend ever increasing amounts of time tracking words across printed pages.


Visual Search Stimulus Onset Asynchrony Visual Information Process General Slowing Iconic Memory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Averbach, E., & Coriell, A. S. Short-term memory in vision. Bell Systems Technical Journal, 1961, 40, 309–328.Google Scholar
  2. Birren, J. E. Age changes in speed of behavior: Its central nature and physiological correlates. In A. T. Welford & J. E. Birren (Eds.), Behavior, aging, and the nervous system. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, 1965.Google Scholar
  3. Birren, J. E., Riegel, K. F., & Morrison, D. F. Age differences in response speed as a function of controlled variation of stimulus conditions: Evidence of a general speed factor. Gerontología, 1962, 6, 1–18.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eriksen, C. W., & Colegate, R. W. Selective attention and serial processing in briefly presented visual displays. Perception and Psychophysics, 1971, 10, 321–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eriksen, C. W., & Collins, J. F. Temporal course of selective attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1969, 80, 489–492.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eriksen, C. W., & Hoffman, J. E. Temporal and spatial characteristics of selective encoding from visual displays. Perception and Psychophysics, 1972, 12, 201–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Heilige, J. B., Walsh, D. A., Lawrence, V. W., & Prasse, M. Figurai relationship effects and mechanisms of visual masking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1979, 5, 88–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hertzog, C. K., Williams, M. V., & Walsh, D. A. The effect of practice on age differences in central perceptual processing. Journal of Gerontology, 1976, 31, 428–433.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kline, D. W., & Baffa, G. Differences in the sequential integration of form as a function of age and interstimulus interval. Experimental Aging Research, 1976, 2, 333–343.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kline, D. W., & Orme-Rogers, C. Examination of stimulus persistence as the basis for superior visual identification performance among older adults. Journal of Gerontology, 1978, 33, 76–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kline, D. W., & Szafran, J. Age differences in backward monoptic visual noise masking. Journal of Gerontology, 1975, 30, 307–311.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Michaels, C. F., & Turvey, M. T. Central sources of visual masking: Indexing structures supporting seeing at a single, brief glance. Psychological Research, 1979, 41, 1–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Neisser, U. Cognitive psychology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1967.Google Scholar
  14. Schultz, D. W., & Eriksen, C. W. Do noise masks terminate target processing? Memory & Cognition, 1977, 84, 127–190.Google Scholar
  15. Sperling, G. The information available in brief visual presentations. Psychological Monographs: General & Applied, 1960, 74, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Thomas, J. P. Model of the function of receptive fields in human vision. Psychological Review, 1970, 77, 121–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Till, R. E. Age-related differences in binocular backward masking with visual noise. Journal of Gerontology, 1978, 33, 702–710.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Turvey, M. T. On peripheral and central processes in vision: Inferences from an information-processing analysis of masking with patterned stimuli. Psychological Review, 1973, 80, 1–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Walsh, D. A. Age differences in central perceptual processing: A dichoptic backward masking investigation. Journal of Gerontology, 1976, 57, 178–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Walsh, D. A., Krauss, I. K., & Regnier, V. A. Spatial ability, environmental knowledge and environmental use: The elderly. In L. Liben, A. Patterson, & N. Newcombe (Eds.), Spatial representation and behavior across the life span. New York: Academic Press, 1981.Google Scholar
  21. Walsh, D. A., & Thompson, L. W. Age differences in visual sensory memory. Journal of Gerontology, 1978, 33, 383–387.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Walsh, D. A., Till, R. E., & Williams, M. V. Age differences in peripheral perceptual processing: A monoptic backward masking investigation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1978, 4, 232–243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Walsh, D. A., Williams, M. V., & Hertzog, C. K. Age-related differences in two stages of central perceptual processes: The effects of short duration targets and criterion differences. Journal of Gerontology, 1979, 34, 234–241.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Weale, R. A. On the eye. In A. Welford & J. Birren (Eds.), Behavior, aging and the nervous system. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, 1965.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Walsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Andrus Gerontology CenterUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations