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Age-related changes in ERP correlates of visuospatial and motor processes

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  • This study was financially supported by funds from the Spanish Government: Ministerios de Educación (Beca FPU AP2007-04362) and Economía y Competitividad (PSI2010-22224-C03-03), and from the Galician Government: Consellería de Economía e Industria (10 PXIB 211070 PR), and Consellería de Educación e Ordenación Universitaria (Axudas para a Consolidación e Estruturación de unidades de investigación competitivas do sistema universitario de Galicia. Modalidade: Grupos con potencial de crecemento. Ref: CN 2012/033).

Address correspondence to: Jesús Cespón, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Facultade de Psicoloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain. E-mail: jesus.cespon@usc.es

Abstract

Although previous ERP studies have demonstrated slowing of visuospatial and motor processes with age, such studies frequently included only young and elderly participants, and lacked information about age-related changes across the adult lifespan. The present research used a Simon task with two irrelevant dimensions (position and direction of an arrow) to study visuospatial (N2 posterior contralateral, N2pc) and motor (response-locked lateralized readiness potential, LRP-r) processes in young, middle-aged, and elderly adults. The reaction time and motor execution stage (LRP-r) increased gradually with age, while visuospatial processes (N2pc latency) were similarly delayed in the older groups. No age-related increase in interference was observed, probably related to a delay in processing the symbolic meaning of the direction in older groups, which was consistent with age-related differences in distributional analyses and N2pc amplitude modulations.

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