A precue paradigm was used to examine the time it takes to restructure a planned motor response. Two groups of subjects, a young group and an elderly group, performed an aiming task in which 75% of the trials involved no change of movement parameters. On remaining trials, subjects had to change one or more of the movement parameters. Elderly subjects had slower reaction times (RTs), movement times, and made more errors in both conditions. Elderly subjects had proportionally longer RTs overall, independent of restructuring a movement plan. Preparation of arm and direction also exhibited a proportional increase in RT. However, differential aging effects were found for preparation of extent. Elderly subjects were slower preparing short movements compared with long movements, whereas young subjects showed the opposite trend. These results suggest that with advancing age, operations concerned with movement-plan restructuring for arm and direction undergo change in processing rate, whereas operations for extent undergo more extensive alteration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Social Psychology