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01-07-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2015

Psychological Research 4/2015

Individual differences in fluid intelligence predicts inattentional blindness in a sample of older adults: a preliminary study

Psychological Research > Uitgave 4/2015
Deirdre M. O’Shea, Robert A. Fieo


Previous research has shown that aging increases susceptibility to inattentional blindness (Graham and Burke, Psychol Aging 26:162, 2011) as well as individual differences in cognitive ability related to working memory and executive functions in separate studies. Therefore, the present study was conducted in an attempt to bridge a gap that involved investigating ‘age-sensitive’ cognitive abilities that may predict inattentional blindness in a sample of older adults. We investigated whether individual differences in general fluid intelligence and speed of processing would predict inattentional blindness in our sample of older adults. Thirty-six healthy older adults took part in the study. Using the inattentional blindness paradigm developed by Most et al. (Psychol Rev 112:217, 2005), we investigated whether rates of inattentional blindness could be predicted by participant’s performance on the Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices and a choice-reaction time task. A Mann–Whitney U test revealed that a higher score on the Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices was significantly associated with lower incidences of inattentional blindness. However, a t test revealed that choice-reaction times were not significantly associated with inattentional blindness. Preliminary results from the present study suggest that individual differences in general fluid intelligence are predictive of inattentional blindness in older adults but not speed of processing. Moreover, our findings are consistent with previous studies that have suggested executive attention control may be the source of these individual differences. These findings also highlight the association between attention and general fluid intelligence and how it may impact environmental awareness. Future research would benefit from repeating these analyses in a larger sample and also including a younger comparison group.

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