When estimating reachability in space, young children and the elderly are similar

  • Carl Gabbard Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, US
  • Priscila Caçola University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA

Abstract

Abstract: This study examined the age-related ability to mentally represent action in the context of reach estimation via use of motor imagery in children, young adults, and a group of older adults. Participants were instructed to estimate whether randomly presented targets in peripersonal (within actual reach) and extrapersonal (beyond reach) space were within or out of reach of their dominant limb while seated. In regard to total accuracy, results indicated that children and older adults were similar, but scores were significantly lower than those of young adults. Whereas all groups displayed greater error in extrapersonal space, once again children and older adults were similar, but significantly different than young adults. That is, children and older adults displayed greater overestimation responses. Although other factors are discussed, the literature provides a hint that differences are due in part to distinctions in brain structure and functioning. 

Key Words: Mental representation, motor imagery, action processing. 

Section
Research Articles