Impact of age on visual search performance

P. Manivannan, Sara Czaja, Colin Drury, Chi Ming Ip

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Visual search is an important component of many real world tasks such as industrial inspection and driving. Several studies have shown that age has an impact on visual search performance. In general older people demonstrate poorer performance on such tasks as compared to younger people. However, there is controversy regarding the source of the age-performance effect. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between component abilities and visual search performance, in order to identify the locus of age-related performance differences. Six abilities including reaction time, working memory, selective attention and spatial localization were identified as important components of visual search performance. Thirty-two subjects ranging in age from 18-84 years, categorized in three different age groups (young, middle, and older) participated in the study. Their component abilities were measured and they performed a visual search task. The visual search task varied in complexity in terms of type of targets detected. Significant relationships were found between some of the component skills and search performance. Significant age effects were also observed. A model was developed using hierarchical multiple linear regression to explain the variance in search performance. Results indicated that reaction time, selective attention, and age were important predictors of search performance with reaction time and selective attention accounting for most of the variance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-176
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993
EventProceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society - Seattle, WA, USA
Duration: Oct 11 1993Oct 15 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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