P300 amplitude age reductions are not caused by latency jitter


  • This research was supported by the Norwegian Research Council (grant to Walhovd, no. 177404/W50) and the Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo (grant to Fjell).

Address reprint requests to: Kristine B. Walhovd, University of Oslo, Institute of Psychology, POB 1094 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: k.b.walhovd@psykologi.uio.no


Studies of the event-related potentials (ERPs) P3a/P3b have given insights into age effects on cognitive processes in the brain, and it has been established that latency increases and amplitude decreases with age. However, if latency jitter, that is, variation in single trial latencies, is larger in elderly than in younger participants, this may create an artificial age–amplitude correlation. The aim of this article is to test whether correction for latency jitter affects the P3a/P3b age correlations. One hundred thirty-three healthy adults (20–88 years old) went through a 3-stimuli visual oddball paradigm. Latency jitter was corrected by use of a Maximum Likelihood Estimation method. The results showed that corrections for latency jitter did not significantly affect the correlations between P3a/P3b and age. It is concluded that previous reports of amplitude reduction as a function of age seem to be valid regardless of whether latency jitter correction has been applied.