Title

Bistable Perception in Normal Aging: Perceptual Reversibility and its Relation to Cognition

Publication Date

2017

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The effects of age on the ability to resolve perceptual ambiguity are unknown, though it depends on frontoparietal attentional networks known to change with age. We presented the bistable Necker cube to 24 middle-aged and OAs (older adults; 56-78 years) and 20 YAs (younger adults; 18-24 years) under passive-viewing and volitional control conditions: Hold one cube percept and Switch between cube percepts. During passive viewing, OAs had longer dominance durations (time spent on each percept) than YAs. In the Hold condition, OAs were less able than YAs to increase dominance durations. In the Switch condition, OAs and YAs did not differ in performance. Dominance durations in either condition correlated with performance on tests of executive function mediated by the frontal lobes. Eye movements (fixation deviations) did not differ between groups. These results suggest that OAs' reduced ability to hold a percept may arise from reduced selective attention. The lack of correlation of performance between Hold and executive-function measures suggests at least a partial segregation of underlying mechanisms.

Original Citation

Díaz-Santos, M., Mauro, S., Cao, B., Yazdanbakhsh, A., Neargarder, S., & Cronin-Golomb, A. (2017). Bistable Perception in Normal Aging: Perceptual Reversibility and its Relation to Cognition. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 24(2), 115-134. https://doi.org/10.1080/13825585.2016.1173646