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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 5/2021

Open Access 13-06-2020 | Original Article

Age differences in diffusion model parameters: a meta-analysis

Auteurs: Maximilian Theisen, Veronika Lerche, Mischa von Krause, Andreas Voss

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 5/2021

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Abstract

Older adults typically show slower response times in basic cognitive tasks than younger adults. A diffusion model analysis allows the clarification of why older adults react more slowly by estimating parameters that map distinct cognitive components of decision making. The main components of the diffusion model are the speed of information uptake (drift rate), the degree of conservatism regarding the decision criterion (boundary separation), and the time taken up by non-decisional processes (i.e., encoding and motoric response execution; non-decision time). While the literature shows consistent results regarding higher boundary separation and longer non-decision time for older adults, results are more complex when it comes to age differences in drift rates. We conducted a multi-level meta-analysis to identify possible sources of this variance. As possible moderators, we included task difficulty and task type. We found that age differences in drift rate are moderated both by task type and task difficulty. Older adults were inferior in drift rate in perceptual and memory tasks, but information accumulation was even increased in lexical decision tasks for the older participants. Additionally, in perceptual and lexical decision tasks, older individuals benefitted from high task difficulty. In the memory tasks, task difficulty did not moderate the negative impact of age on drift. The finding of higher boundary separation and longer non-decision time in older than younger adults generalized over task type and task difficulty. The results of our meta-analysis are consistent with recent findings of a more pronounced age-related decline in memory than in vocabulary performance.

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1
search string: ("age differences" OR "old adults" OR "old participants" OR "older adult" OR "older adults" OR "older participants" OR "higher age" OR "older group" OR "old group" OR "age-related" OR "effects of aging" OR "effects of age" OR "aging effects" OR "age effects").
 
2
As recommended by Wolfgang Viechtbauer (Personal communication, April 2018).
 
3
To compute the I2 on task type level we used the approach for multivariate models as described in Viechtbauer (2018, December 8). To compute the I2 for boundary separation and non-decision time, we used Higgins and Thompson’s (2002) formula.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Age differences in diffusion model parameters: a meta-analysis
Auteurs
Maximilian Theisen
Veronika Lerche
Mischa von Krause
Andreas Voss
Publicatiedatum
13-06-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 5/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01371-8