This study aimed to test two common explanations for the general finding of age-related changes in the performance of timing tasks within the millisecond-to-second range intervals. The first explanation is that older adults have a real difficulty in temporal processing as compared to younger adults. The second explanation is that older adults perform poorly on timing tasks because of their reduced cognitive control functions. These explanations have been mostly contrasted in explicit timing tasks that overtly require participants to process interval durations. Fewer studies have instead focused on implicit timing tasks, where no explicit instructions to process time are provided. Moreover, the investigation of both explicit and implicit timing in older adults has been restricted so far to healthy older participants. Here, a large sample (N = 85) comprising not only healthy but also pathological older adults completed explicit (time bisection) and implicit (foreperiod) timing tasks within a single session. Participants' age and cognitive decline, measured with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), were used as continuous variables to explain performance on explicit and implicit timing tasks. Results for the explicit timing task showed a flatter psychometric curve with increasing age or decreasing MMSE scores, pointing to a deficit at the level of cognitive control functions rather than of temporal processing. By contrast, for the implicit timing task, a decrease in the MMSE scores was associated with a reduced foreperiod effect, an index of implicit time processing. Overall, these findings extend previous studies on explicit and implicit timing in healthy aged samples by dissociating between age and cognitive decline (in the normal-to-pathological continuum) in older adults.

Explicit and implicit timing in older adults: Dissociable associations with age and cognitive decline

Visalli, Antonino;Mioni, Giovanna
2022

Abstract

This study aimed to test two common explanations for the general finding of age-related changes in the performance of timing tasks within the millisecond-to-second range intervals. The first explanation is that older adults have a real difficulty in temporal processing as compared to younger adults. The second explanation is that older adults perform poorly on timing tasks because of their reduced cognitive control functions. These explanations have been mostly contrasted in explicit timing tasks that overtly require participants to process interval durations. Fewer studies have instead focused on implicit timing tasks, where no explicit instructions to process time are provided. Moreover, the investigation of both explicit and implicit timing in older adults has been restricted so far to healthy older participants. Here, a large sample (N = 85) comprising not only healthy but also pathological older adults completed explicit (time bisection) and implicit (foreperiod) timing tasks within a single session. Participants' age and cognitive decline, measured with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), were used as continuous variables to explain performance on explicit and implicit timing tasks. Results for the explicit timing task showed a flatter psychometric curve with increasing age or decreasing MMSE scores, pointing to a deficit at the level of cognitive control functions rather than of temporal processing. By contrast, for the implicit timing task, a decrease in the MMSE scores was associated with a reduced foreperiod effect, an index of implicit time processing. Overall, these findings extend previous studies on explicit and implicit timing in healthy aged samples by dissociating between age and cognitive decline (in the normal-to-pathological continuum) in older adults.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3439376
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