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Li, K. Z. H., Hasher, L., Jonas, D., & May, C. P. (1998). Distractibility, circadian arousal, and aging: A boundary condition? Psychology and Aging, 13, 574-583.


Two studies assessed the presence of a synchrony effect between peak circadian arousal and time of testing for both older and younger adults. Participants performed a reading aloud task that included distracting words that were either present or absent and, if present, were either thematically related or unrelated to the target text. As well, the distracting material was presented in either spatially predictable or unpredictable locations. In each experiment, older and younger adults were tested at optimal versus nonoptimal times. Both experiments showed age differences in susceptibility to distraction, replicating earlier findings (e.g. M.C. Carlson, L. Hasher, R.T. Zacks, & S.L. Connelly, 1995). Neither showed differences due to time of testing, suggesting a boundary condition for cognitive disruptions associated with circadian arousal patterns.

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