The Time It Takes Elderly and Young Individuals to Draw Pictures and Write Words

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Twenty elderly and 20 young Ss drew pictures or wrote words for picture or word stimuli. Elderly Ss had slower response initiation than young Ss, especially when drawing. Beyond this, both age groups processed picture and word stimuli similarly. Elderly and young Ss exhibited equivalent latency increases for cross-modality trials (e.g., draw a picture given a word) over within-modality trials (e.g., draw a picture given a picture), regardless of stimulus or task modality. Strong support was found for a mathematical model of these results, which assumes age-related additive slowing for input and output subprocesses but age invariance for a cross-modality transfer subprocess. However, regressing elderly on young whole-condition latencies indicated general, multiplicative slowing: a discrepancy that questions the utility of the global Brinley plot procedure in revealing the nature of age-related slowing.



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