Spatial and semantic interference on an auditory Stroop test: comparison of young and older adults
Background and Aim: Age related changes in cognitive functioning have been shown to vary depending on the task used. Thus, the study aimed to compare the responses of young and older adults to an auditory Stroop test that assessed spatial (responses to location of the stimuli) and semantic (responses to meaning of the stimuli) localization.
Methods: The “Auditory spatial and semantic localization Stroop test”, developed as a part of the study was administered on 30 young adults aged 18 to 30 years and 30 older adults aged 58 to 70 years having normal hearing. The response accuracy and reaction time of the participants were determined for the words “right”, “left”, “front”, and “back.”
Results: The older adults had significantly poorer response accuracy and reaction time than the young adults for both spatial and semantic localization tasks. Within each participant group, semantic localization had better response accuracy than spatial localization, while such differences in reaction time were found only in the older adults. In both groups, a congruency effect was seen for spatial but not for semantic localization when response accuracy was calculated, whereas it was observed only for semantic and not for spatial localization when reaction time was measured.
Conclusion: The auditory Stroop test, which measures stimulus interference and cognitive skills, could be used as a simple tool to assess the same for stimuli presented through the auditory modality. This would be especially helpful in older adults who may demonstrate cognitive decline with ageing to auditory stimuli.
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