Category-specific visual recognition as affected by aging and expertise.Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2006 May-Jun; 42(3):329-38.AG
The influence of aging and expertise on visual identification as function of semantic category (animals and tools) and spatial-frequency content of stimuli was investigated. Three-age groups of experts (whose profession required the use of manipulable tools) and non-experts, participated to the experiment. Data showed a different involvement of low and high spatial-frequency channels in processing objects semantically different: animals were identified at a coarse spatial scale (low spatial frequencies) and tools at a finer spatial scale (higher spatial frequencies). A gradual age-related decline in the identification for both categories (more physical information was required as the age increased) was found in non-experts, while in experts a similar trend was found only for animals and not for tools. In fact, independently on the age, experts could identify tools without requiring more visual details, probably for the benefits from their long-term experience with tools. Expertise, represented at higher levels of cognitive processing, might compensate the loss of lower levels of information processing due to aging.