ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (12): 2746-2763.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02746

• 研究前沿 • 上一篇    下一篇


叶丽群, 谭欣, 姚堃, 丁玉珑()   

  1. 华南师范大学心理学院, 广州 510631
  • 收稿日期:2021-09-29 出版日期:2022-12-15 发布日期:2022-09-23
  • 通讯作者: 丁玉珑
  • 基金资助:

Influence of normal aging on early stages of visual attention: Evidence from ERP studies

YE Liqun, TAN Xin, YAO Kun, DING Yulong()   

  1. School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2021-09-29 Online:2022-12-15 Published:2022-09-23
  • Contact: DING Yulong


选择性注意能够作用于视觉信息加工的不同阶段。各个注意阶段均受到老化过程的影响, 其中注意早期阶段的老化研究对于理解认知老化的发生机制有重要意义。本文系统地梳理了刺激前的注意预期阶段以及刺激后200 ms内的早期感知注意阶段的正常老年人和青年人ERP比较研究, 以探讨正常老化对视觉早期注意的影响。现有证据表明, 相对于青年人, 正常老年人:(1)多个早期ERP注意效应(包括注意预期ADAN, 早期空间注意N1, 以及特征注意SP和SN)在潜伏期上都存在显著延迟; (2)在振幅上, 不同ERP注意效应的老化表现存在差异:某些ERP成分(包括注意预期EDAN, 以及早期空间注意P1)的注意效应没有明显减弱, 而某些ERP成分(包括注意预期alpha, 早期空间注意N1, 以及特征注意SN)的注意效应受到老化调控; (3)一些注意效应(包括特征注意SP成分, 以及客体注意P1和N1成分)的目标增强机制保留, 而干扰抑制机制缺损。目前已有研究在老化对注意效应振幅的调控上还存在不一致, 这可能与研究的信噪比、任务难度、注意机制分离以及老年人的个体差异有关。未来研究应考虑这些因素以更好地探究正常老化对视觉早期注意的影响。

关键词: 视觉早期注意, 正常老化, 注意预期, ERP


Selective attention modulates multiple stages of visual processing, and nearly all the attentional modulations are affected by normal aging. Studies about the influence of aging on early stages of attentional processing can greatly help to understand the mechanism of cognitive aging. However, the related studies are insufficient and sometimes exhibit inconsistent results. Till now, there is still lack of reviews focusing the aging mechanism of early visual attention from the perspective of time course.
This paper systematically reviews the ERP (event-related potential) studies investigating the aging effect on both pre-stimulus anticipatory attention and sensory stages of attentional processing (less than 200ms post-stimulus). Current evidence shows that: (1) early attentional effects reflected by many ERP components (e.g., ADAN and EDAN reflecting anticipatory attention, N1 reflecting early spatial attention, SP and SN reflecting early feature attention) are delayed in older adults compared to young adults; (2) the amplitudes of early attentional effects showed diverse age-related patterns in different ERP components : while some components (e.g., ADAN, EDAN, and P1 reflecting early spatial attention) appear to be resistant to aging, some other components (e.g., alpha power lateralization reflecting anticipatory attention, N1 reflecting early spatial attention, and SN reflecting early feature attention) seem to be influenced easily by aging, albeit some inconsistent results (e.g., the age-related spatial attention effect on N1 amplitudes is found to be enhanced, preserved, or declined in different studies); (3) while target facilitation reflected by some ERP components (e.g., SP reflecting early feature attention, P1 and N1 reflecting early object attention) is retained in healthy older adults, there is an age-related decline in distractor suppression.
Regarding to the diverse and inconsistent findings about how normal aging affects early attentional effects in ERP amplitudes, there might be multiple reasons. On one hand, it might be due to different task demands and/or different attentional processes (distractor suppression vs. target facilitation) engaged in different studies: (1) different task demands will confuse the observation of, even exert distinct influences on different stages of early attention in healthy older adults; (2) target facilitation and distractor suppression might be two distinguished age-related attentional processes, with distractor suppression more sensitive to normal aging. On the other hand, it might be ascribable to some confounding factors, such as signal-to-noise ratio and individual differences of the elderly across studies: (1) the low signal-to-noise ratio in s aging-related ERP studies might lead to unstable and unconvincing results; (2) the range of age and cognitive function of the elderly samples are different across studies, which might also leads to inconsistent results. Future research should control the confounding factors to obtain stable and comparable results, such as ensuring sufficient trials and/or matching the task demands between the elderly and young. To further understand the aging mechanism, future research can also manipulate these factors to explore their specific effects on early stages of attention, such as providing a neutral condition to separate target facilitation and distractor suppression processes.

Key words: early stages of visual attention, normal aging, anticipatory attention, ERP