Imagery Interference Diminishes in Older Adults: Age-Related Differences in the Magnitude of the Perky Effect
Imagination, cognition and personality
Studies have documented the negative effects of mental imagery on perception (also known as the Perky effect) in younger adults, but imagery-interference effects in older adults have never been assessed. Two experiments examined this issue directly. Experiment 1 demonstrated that visual mental images diminish visual acuity in younger adults (mean age = 19.0) but not older adults (mean age = 73.6). Experiment 2 obtained parallel results, showing that visual imagery interfered with performance on a visual detection task in younger (mean age = 18.7) but not older adults (mean age = 66.7). Processes underlying age-related differences in imagery-interference effects are discussed and implications of these results for changes in cognitive performance in older adults are considered.
Craver-Lemley, Catherine; Bornstein, Robert F.; Alexander, Danielle N.; and Barrett, Anna M., "Imagery Interference Diminishes in Older Adults: Age-Related Differences in the Magnitude of the Perky Effect" (2009). Faculty Publications. 1624.