Cortical Configuration by Stimulus onset Visual Evoked Potentials (SO-VEPs) Predicts Performance on a Motion Direction Discrimination Task
The slowing of information processing, a hallmark of cognitive aging, has several origins. Previously we reported that in a motion direction discrimination task, older as compared to younger participants showed prolonged non-decision time, an index of an early perceptual stage, while in motion onset visual evoked potentials (MO-VEPs) the P1 component was enhanced and N2 was diminished. We did not find any significant correlations between behavioral and MO-VEP measures. Here, we investigated the role of age in encoding and perceptual processing of stimulus onset visually evoked potentials (SO-VEPs). Twelve healthy adults (age < 55 years) and 19 elderly (age > 55 years) performed a motion direction discrimination task during EEG recording. Prior to motion, the stimulus consisted of a static cloud of white dots on a black background. As expected, SO-VEPs evoked well defined P1, N1, and P2 components. Elderly participants as compared to young participants showed increased P1 amplitude while their P2 amplitude was reduced. In addition elderly participants showed increased latencies for P1 and N1 components. Contrary to the findings with MO-VEPs, SO-VEP parameters were significant predictors of average response times and diffusion model parameters. Our electrophysiological results support the notion that slowing of information processing in older adults starts at the very beginning of encoding in visual cortical processing, most likely in striate and extrastriate visual cortices. More importantly, the earliest SO-VEP components, possibly reflecting configuration of visual cortices and encoding processes, predict subsequent prolonging and tardiness of perceptual and higher-level cognitive processes.
International Journal of Psychophysiology
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