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Carlson, M., Hasher, L., Zacks, R. T., & Connelly, S. L. (1995). Aging, distraction, and the benefits of predictable location. Psychology and Aging, 10, 427-436.


Three experiments examined the impact on reading time for younger and older adults in the absence vs. presence of distraction (marked by font type) in either fixed predictable locations (Experiments 1 and 2) or unpredictable locations (Experiment 3) . Consistent with earlier work (S. L. Connelly, L. Hasher, & R. T. Zacks; see record 1992-18667-001), older adults were markedly disrupted, relative to young adults, when distraction was present in unpredictable locations. When the location of distraction was fixed, however, the very large disadvantage that older adults otherwise experienced (slowed by as much as 46 s) diminished substantially (to as little as 2 s). Fixed location also eliminated the relatedness effect, by which older adults are especially susceptible to distraction from meaningfully related material.

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