Age-related differences in response speed and accuracy on sequential responding tasks

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Hyland, John
McGreal, Catherine
O'Hora, Denis
Hogan, Michael
Issue Date
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the current study was to investigate possible increases in variability of cognitive function and decline in sequential responding performance as a result of aging. Forty six participants, 23 younger (18 – 23 years) and 23 older (55 – 81 years) individuals, took part in a temporal order judgement task. Stimuli were presented in particular sequences (e.g. Stimulus A…Stimulus B), followed by statements either correctly or incorrectly describing these sequences using ‘Before’ or ‘After’ relational cues. The Go/No go paradigm was employed, with participants instructed to respond (Go) if the statement correctly described the sequence and not respond (No go) if the statement was an incorrect description. Results revealed slower responding generally to correct ‘After’ statements compared to correct ‘Before’ statements, supporting previous findings by Hyland and colleagues (2012, 2014). In addition, younger participants demonstrated faster and more accurate responding than older participants. Implications related to the role of executive function will be addressed, as will the importance of such research due to prospective long term population aging. Author keywords: Stimulus relations, age, relational flexibility, mutual entailment