Multi-target visual search organisation across the lifespan: cancellation task performance in a large and demographically stratified sample of healthy adults

Jeroen S Benjamins, Edwin S Dalmaijer*, Antonia F Ten Brink, Tanja C W Nijboer, Stefan Van der Stigchel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Accurate tests of cognition are vital in (neuro)psychology. Cancellation tasks are popular tests of attention and executive function, in which participants find and 'cancel' targets among distractors. Despite extensive use in neurological patients, it remains unclear whether demographic variables (that vary among patients) affect cancellation performance. Here, we describe performance in 523 healthy participants of a web-based cancellation task. Age, sex, and level of education did not affect cancellation performance in this sample. We provide norm scores for indices of spatial bias, perseverations, revisits, processing speed, and search organisation. Furthermore, a cluster analysis identified four cognitive profiles among participants, characterised by many omissions (N=18), many revisits (N=18), relatively poor search organisation (N=125), and relatively good search organisation (N=362). Thus, patient scores pertaining to search organisation should be interpreted cautiously: Given the large proportion of healthy individuals with poor search organisation, disorganised search in patients might be pre-existing rather than disorder-related.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-748
Number of pages18
JournalAging, Neuropsychology and Cognition
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention/physiology
  • Executive Function/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Space Perception/physiology
  • Young Adult

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