Age-related decline in divided-attention: from theoretical lab research to practical real-life situations

Authors

  • Sarah Fraser,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
    • Centre de recherche Institut Universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
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  • Louis Bherer

    1. Centre de recherche Institut Universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
    2. PERFORM Centre and Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montréal, QC, Canada
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Correspondence to: sfraser@live.concordia.ca

Abstract

The purpose of this advanced review is to provide readers with an up-to-date synopsis of age-related changes in divided-attention abilities. An interdisciplinary approach is taken, supplying readers with evidence from very structured laboratory studies and findings from more ecological research studies that target real-life divided-attention situations (i.e., walking and talking). The review goes beyond the reported age-related declines in divided-attention abilities and offers the reader an overview of current cognitive (dual-task) training findings which suggest that these declines can be diminished with training. The contents of this review and the future directions proposed demonstrate that divided-attention research and its recent application to aging and mobility has become a major and fast growing scientific field of investigation. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:623–640. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1252

Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

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