Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Nov 2022)

The impact of early aging on visual perception of space and time

  • Sara Incao,
  • Sara Incao,
  • Carlo Mazzola,
  • Carlo Mazzola,
  • Alessandra Sciutti

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16


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Visual perception of space and time has been shown to rely on context dependency, an inferential process by which the average magnitude of a series of stimuli previously experienced acts as a prior during perception. This article aims to investigate the presence and evolution of this phenomenon in early aging. Two groups of participants belonging to two different age ranges (Young Adults: average age 28.8 years old; Older Adults: average age 62.8 years old) participated in the study performing a discrimination and a reproduction task, both in a spatial and temporal conditions. In particular, they were asked to evaluate lengths in the spatial domain and interval durations in the temporal one. Early aging resulted to be associated to a general decline of the perceptual acuity, which is particularly evident in the temporal condition. The context dependency phenomenon was preserved also during aging, maintaining similar levels as those exhibited by the younger group in both space and time perception. However, the older group showed a greater variability in context dependency among participants, perhaps due to different strategies used to face a higher uncertainty in the perceptual process.