Age progression is known to have adverse affects on the brain, but does it affect all aspects of the brain? With this contemplation, I sought to determine the effect of age on attention via word and color recognition.
Seven tests, the Stroop test and variations of the Stroop test, were used as a means of measuring attention capabilities.
Ten people (5 male and 5 female) in each of the 6 age groups were tested: preschool (3-4), elementary school (8-9), middle school (12-14), high school (16-18), adults (21-55), and elders (63+).
The accuracy, time, and reading rate were determined for each person.
In terms of the average reading rate of the tests among all the groups, the high school group performed the best. The average reading rate (words/minute) for tests 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, respectively were 61.2, 117, 140, 77.9, 130, 145, and 140.
For the tests that required naming the color, the lines of the graphs were steeper whereas the lines of the graphs for the tests that required reading the words were smoother. The elder group had the greatest discrepancy among the tests.
The results of the experiment partially support my hypothesis because the high school group in fact had the fastest reading rate for all of the tests.
The overall trend of the average reading rate for each of the tests was increasing from preschool and peaking at high school and then decreasing thereafter through adulthood and elder age, but the reading rate for the elder group never fell below the rate of the preschool and elementary groups.
This reveals that attention abilities are still developing during the preschool and elementary school stages therefore making it harder for the younger children to complete the interference tasks.
Contrary to my hypothesis, the elders group had the greatest discrepancy among the tests. This is because the elders group had high reading rates for tests that required reading because they have experience and thereby more active neuronal pathways, but for the tests that required naming words and extensive use of attention, the elders did significantly poorly due to the limited use of that segment of the brain combined with water loss and decreased glucose use.
Through this project, we have more knowledge about the intricacies of attention at different age levels and we can adapt this knowledge to improving our education system and attention capabilities.
This project aimed to uncover the varying attention capabilities, via word and color recognition, at different ages and determine whether age hinders or enhances attention capabilities.
Science Fair Project done By Shabnam Z. Eghbali