Mari Riess Jones (Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University)
(February 8, 2005 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM)
Age-related slowing hypotheses were evaluated with 305 participants, ranging in age from 4 to 95 years. Various perception and motor tasks, including spontaneous and synchronize-continue tapping were employed to assess different models derived, respectively, from interval time and entrainment theory. Spontaneous motor tapping and judgments of preferred sequence tempi showed different age-related regions of preferred tapping, with younger participants favoring faster tempi than adults. Accuracy and variability of continuation tapping also varied systematically with age in a manner consistent with age-related slowing, especially in children. These findings were in accord with the entrainment hypothesis that people rely on preferred internal periods which change over the lifespan. This approach correctly predicts age-related changes in error and variability and leads to a modification of Weber's Law, the Restricted Weber Function.