Keywords: Attention; Aging; Attentional Response Times; Old People; Age-Related Changes.
Literature reports a slowing of all cognitive operations in the old age. The overall goal of this cross-sectional research was to study the effect of age on «attentional response times». In particular, the study aimed to analyse the question of whether age shows up a significant variable upon the two dimensions, gender and cognitive impairment, that typically influence the speed at which the mental processes operate. Participants were 240 subjects aged from 65 to 85 years old (males: 116; females 124). «Attentional response times» were assessed. Moreover, participants were tested for cognitive impairment. Age-related changes in response times did not involve all the aspects of attention. Moreover, age is a significant predictor of the speed of processing verbal stimuli, in tasks assessing auditory focused attention. Results could have practical relevance. A fast response to environmental stimuli is the prerequisite of accurate performances in several daily activities. «Attentional response times» influence cognitive and behavioral processes and their decay contribute to determine the quality of daily performances in old adults.