Changes in Visual Event-Related Potentials in Older Persons

  • E. Snyder
  • S. A. Hillyard
Part of the Bayer-Symposium book series (BAYER-SYMP, volume 7)


A progressive decline in the sensory-motor and cognitive capabilities of elderly individuals has been reported in a number of experimental contexts (for reviews, see Corso, 1975; Gold and McGaugh, 1975). These age-related changes in information processing capacity have been correlated with a number of neuro-anatomic changes (e.g., senile plaque and loss of brain cells). Thus, according to Zubin (1973), “…aging may be regarded as due to a series of subtle cortical insults that interfere with information processing.”


Contingent Negative Variation Alpha Rhythm Gonadal Dysgenesis Alpha Frequency Memory Scanning 
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. Brannon, L.: The effects of biofeedback training of EEG alpha activity on psychological functioning of the elderly. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. The Pennsylvania State University 1976Google Scholar
  2. Broadbent, D.: Stimulus set and response set: Two kinds of selective attention. In: Attention: contemporary theory and analysis. Mostofsky, D.I. (ed.), pp. 106–118. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts 1970Google Scholar
  3. Buchsbaum, M., Kenkin, R., Christiansen, R.: Age and sex differences in averaged evoked responses in a normal population, with observations on patients with gonadal dysgenesis. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 37, 137–144 (1974)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Corso, J.: Sensory processes in man during maturity and senescence. In: Neurobiology of aging. Ordy, J.M., Brizzee, K.R. (eds.), pp. 112–132. New York: Plenum Press 1975Google Scholar
  5. Courchesne, E., Hillyard, S.A., Galambos, R.: Stimuli novelty task relevance and the visual evoked potential in man. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 39, 131–143 (1975)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davies, D.: Age differences in paced inspection tasks. In: Human aging and behavior. Tallard, G.A. (ed.), pp. 145–169. New York: Academic Press 1968Google Scholar
  7. Davies, D., Hockey, G.: The effects of noise and doubling the signal frequency on individual differences in visual vigilance performance. Br. J. Psychol. 57, 381–389 (1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davis, P.: The electroencephalogram in old age. Dis. Nerv. Syst. 2, 77 (1941)Google Scholar
  9. Donchin, E., Ritter, W., McCallum, C.: Cognitive psychophysiology: The endo-geneous components of the ERP. In: Brain event-related potentials in man. Callaway, E., Tueting, P., Koslow, S. (eds.) (in press)Google Scholar
  10. Dustman, R., Beck, E.: Visually evoked potentials: Amplitude changes with age. Science 151, 1013–1015 (1966)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dustman, R., Beck, E.: The effects of maturation and aging on the wave form of visually evoked potentials. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 26, 2–11 (1969)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eason, R., Harter, M., White, C.: Effects of attention and arousal on visually evoked cortical potentials and reaction time in man. Physiol. Behav. 4, 283–289 (1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ford, J., Hink, R., Hopkins, W., Roth, W., Pfefferbaum, A., Kopell, B.: Age effects on event-related potentials in a selective attention task, (in press 1978)Google Scholar
  14. Friedlander, W.: Electroencephalographic alpha rate in adults as a function of age. Geriatrics 13, 29 (1958)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Gachés, J.: Etude statistique sur les traces “alpha largement developpe” en fonction de l’âge. Presse Med. 68, 1620 (1960)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gold, P.E., McGaugh, J.L.:. Changes in learning and memory during aging. In: Neurobiology of aging. Ordy, J.M., Brizzee, K.R. (eds.), pp. 84–96. New York: Plenum Press 1975Google Scholar
  17. Goodin, D., Squires, K., Henderson, B., Starr, A.: Age-related variations in evoked potentials to auditory stimuli in normal human subjects. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. (in press, 1978)Google Scholar
  18. Hillyard, S., Hink, R., Schwent, V., Picton, T.: Electrical signs of selective attention in the human brain. Science 182, 177–180 (1973)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hillyard, S.A., Picton, T.W., Regan, D.: Sensation, perception and attention: Analysis using ERPs. In: Brain event-related potentials in man. Callaway, E., Tueting, P., Koslow, S. (eds.) (in press, 1978)Google Scholar
  20. Kooi, K., Bagchi, B.: Visual evoked responses in man: Normative data: Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 112, 254–269 (1964)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Loveless, N., Sanford, A.: Effects of age on the contingent negative variation and preparatory set in a reaction-time task. J. Geront. 29, 52–63 (1974)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Lüders, H.: The effects of aging on the wave form of the somatosensory cortical evoked potential. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 29, 450–460 (1970)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mankovsky, N., Belonog, R.: Aging of the human nervous system in the electroencephalographic aspect. Geriatrics 26, 100 (1971)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Marsh, G.: Age differences in evoked potential correlates of a memory scanning process. Exp. Aging Res. 1, 3–16 (1975)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marsh, G.R., Thompson, L.N.: Age differences in evoked potentials during an auditory discrimination task. Gerontologist 12, 44 (1972)Google Scholar
  26. Marsh, G.R., Thompson, L.W.: Effects of age on the contingent negative variation in a pitch discrimination task. J. Geront. 28, 56–62 (1973)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Matousek, M., Volavka, J., Roubicek, J., Roth, Z.: EEG frequency analysis related to age in normal adults. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 23, 162–167 (1967)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mundy-Castle, A., Hurst, L., Beerstecher, D., Prinsloo, T.: Electroencephalogram in senile psychoses. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 6, 245–252 (1954)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Obrist, W.: The electroencephalogram of normal aged adults. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 6, 235–244 (1954)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Obrist, W.: The electroencephalogram of healthy aged males. In: Human aging: a biological and behavioral study. (USPHS Publ. No. 986). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office 1963Google Scholar
  31. Obrist, W.: Cerebral physiology of the aged: Relation of psychological function. In: Behavior and brain electrical activity. Burch, N.R., Altshuler, H. (eds.), pp. 185–212. New York: Plenum Press 1975Google Scholar
  32. Obrist, W., Busse, E.: The electroencephalogram in old age. In: Applications of electroencephalography in psychiatry: a symposium. Wilson, W. (ed.), pp. 142–165. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press 1965Google Scholar
  33. Obrist, W., Henry, C.: Electroencephalographic findings in aged psychiatric patients. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 126, 254 (1958)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Otomo, E.: Electroencephalography in old age: Dominant alpha pattern. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 21, 489 (1966)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pfefferbaum, A., Ford, J., Roth, W., Hopkins, W., Kopell, B.: Event-related potential changes in healthy aged females, (submitted, 1978)Google Scholar
  36. Prinz, P.: EEG during sleep and waking states. In: Special review of experimental aging research: progress in biology. Elias. M., Eleftherious, B., Elias, P. (eds.), pp. 186–212. Bar Harbor, Maine: EAR 1976Google Scholar
  37. Rabbitt, P.: Perceptual discrimination and the choice of responses. Unpublished doctoral thesis. University of Cambridge 1962Google Scholar
  38. Rabbitt, P.: Age and discrimination between complex stimuli. In: Behavior, aging and the nervous system. Welford, A.T., Birren, J.E. (eds.), pp. 42–64. Springfield: Charles Thomas 1965bGoogle Scholar
  39. Rabbitt, P., Birren, J.: Age and responses to sequences of repetitive and interruptive signals. J. Geront. 22, 143–150 (1967)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Rabbitt, P.M.A.: An age decrement in the ability to ignore irrelevant information. J. Geront. 20, 233–238 (1965)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Ritter, W., Vaughan, H., Costa, L.: Orienting and habituation to auditory stimuli: A study of short-term changes in average evoked responses. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 25, 550–556 (1968)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Scheibel, M., Scheibel, A.: Structural changes in the aging brain. In: Aging. Vol. 1: Clinical, morphologic, and neurochemical aspects in the aging central nervous system. Brody, H., Harman, D., Ordy, J.M. (eds.), pp. 168–178. New York: Plenum Press 1975Google Scholar
  43. Schenkenberg, T.: Visual, auditory and somatosensory evoked responses of normal subjects from childhood to senescense. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Utah 1970Google Scholar
  44. Shagass, C., Schwartz, M.: Age, personality, and somatosensory evoked responses. Science 148, 1359–1361 (1965)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith, D.B.D., Tom, C., Brent, G., Ohta, R.: Attention, evoked potentials, and aging. In: Research directions of psychophysiological changes with aging. Thompson, L.W. (Chair.). Symposium presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Assoc, Los Angeles, California, April 8–11, 1976Google Scholar
  46. Squires, N., Squires, K., Hillyard, S.: Two varieties of long-latency positive waves evoked by unpredictable auditory stimuli in man. Electroenceph. Clin. Neurophysiol. 38, 387–401 (1975)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sternberg, S.: Memory scanning: Mental processes revealed by reaction-time experiments. American Scientist 57, 421–457 (1969)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Straumanis, J., Shagass, C., Schwartz, M.: Visually evoked cerebral response changes associated with chronic brain syndromes and aging. J. Geront. 20, 498–506 (1965)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Sutton, S., Braren, M., Zubin, J., John, E.R.: Evoked potential correlates of stimulus uncertainty. Science 150, 1187–1188 (1965)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Thompson, L., Marsh, G., Zelinski, E.: Topographic distribution of cortical potentials as a function of verval or spatial processing set. Exp. Aging Res. (in press)Google Scholar
  51. Thompson, L., Nowlin, J.: Cortical slow potential and cardiovascular correlates of attention during reaction time performance. In: Aging: Psychological and somatic changes. Jarvik, L., Eisdorfer, C., Blum, J. (eds.). Berlin-Heidelberg-New York: Springer 1971Google Scholar
  52. Van Voorhis, S., Hillyard, S.: Visual evoked potentials and selective attention to points in space. Percep. Psychophys. 22, 54–62 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Woodruff, D.: Biofeedback control of the EEG alpha rhythm and its effect on reaction time in the young and old. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Southern California 1972Google Scholar
  54. Woodruff, D.: Relationships among EEG alpha frequency, reaction time, and age: A biofeedback study. Psychophysiology 12, 673 (1975)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zambelli, A., Stamm, J., Maitinsky, S., Loiselle, D.: Auditory evoked potentials and selective attention in formerly hyperactive adolescent boys. Am. J. Psychiatry 134/7, 742–741 (1977)PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Zubin, J.: Foundations of gerontology. In: The psychology of adult development and ging. Lawton, M.P. (eds.), pp. 35–46. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association 1973Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Snyder
  • S. A. Hillyard

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations