Aging and Perception of Visual Form from Temporal Structure
In this study, the authors examined age-related changes in participants' ability to perceive global spatial structure defined by temporal fine structure among elements undergoing rapid, irregular change. Participants were also tested on a task involving form recognition from luminance contrast and on a task dependent on perception of 3-dimensional shape from motion. Compared with young adults, older individuals were less sensitive to spatial form defined by temporal structure. In contrast, older observers performed as well as young adults on the other two tasks that were not dependent on temporal sensitivity, ruling out nonsensory factors as the cause of the deficits on the temporal structure task. This selective deficit may reveal reduced sensitivity within the temporal impulse response of the aging visual system, a deficit that could be related to reduced effectiveness of neural inhibition.