Neurological changes in older adults suggest that their mental representation of peripersonal space, the space around their bodies, might be degraded compared with that of young adults. These changes may lead to differences in how attention is allocated within peripersonal space, affecting how older adults plan and guide their actions. In the present study, we show that there are indeed profound differences between the spatial representations of older and young adults: In a task involving simple hand movements, young adults adopted an attentional reference frame centered on the hand, and older adults adopted a reference frame centered on the body. Such differences may help to explain age-related changes observed in the performance of many common movement tasks.
- perceptual motor coordination
- spatial perception