Cognitive and sensorimotor factors associated with visual field dependence in the context of aging

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Publication: Actes du 16e Congrès international de l'Association des Chercheurs en Activités Physiques et Sportives, p.336–337 (2015)

Introduction Reliance on the visual frame of reference (FoR) for spatial orientation (visual field dependence) has been reported to increase with age. This has implications on old adults' daily living tasks as it affects attention, stability and adaptation capacities. We sought to establish whether factors that are both known to degrade with age and important for spatial orientation and sensorimotor control, namely reliance on the egocentric (proprioceptive-based) FoR, visual fixation stability and divided and selective attentional processing of complex visual scenes (useful field of view), were associated with increased visual field dependence in old age. Alterations of the body schema with age [1] could indicate reduced reliance on the egocentric FoR. The proprioceptive chain linking the eye to the foot [2], contributes to egocentric referencing. The ability to maintain a stable gaze may thus affect the exploitation of the egocentric FoR as well as visual information processing. In addition, visual fixation instability reduces performance in complex tasks requiring peripheral visual information gathering and limitations in peripheral perception affect stability in old adults [3]. Finally, the shrinking of the useful field of view (UFOV) with age affects daily living tasks of old adults as it implies both peripheral visual sensory and cognitive decline [4].