Evidence for Task Specificity in Age-Related Slowing: A Review of Speeded Picture-Word Processing Studies

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Review Article

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In this chapter, studies concerning, aging and speeded picture-word processing are reviewed. As a metric for their evaluation, prevalent hypotheses concerning aging and visual cognition-borrowed from the psychometric and nonspeeded memory literature-are discussed as well as current picture-word processing models. Then, as a nominal distinction, studies employing comparison tasks are evaluated separately from studies employing production tasks. A “Brinley plot” regression analysis of the condition latencies of these studies reveals that beyond additive slowing for both task types, proportional slowing occurs only for comparison tasks in the elderly data. Moreover, this task distinction is also found for strictly lexical studies, and thus indicates (at least within the modal response latency range) stimulus modality-independent task specificity for age-related slowing. Directions for future investigations of this finding are explored.



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