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Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 185385, 7 pages
Research Article

Effects of Age and Cardiovascular Disease on Selective Attention

1Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS, UMR 8158 & Université Paris-Descartes, 75006 Paris, France
2Unité Fonctionnelle Vision et Cognition & Service de Neurologie, Fondation Ophtalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild, 25 Rue Manin, 75019 Paris, France
3Institut de Cardiologie, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, 75013 Paris, France

Received 24 June 2013; Accepted 14 November 2013

Academic Editor: Janusz K. Rybakowski

Copyright © 2013 Sylvie Chokron et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In order to study the effect of normal aging and cardiovascular disease on selective attention, a letter-identification task was proposed to younger and older healthy adults as well as patients with a recent myocardial infarction or a recent coronary artery bypass grafting. Participants had to detect either a big stimulus or a small one surrounded by flanking letters. The stimuli were displayed horizontally, either in the left (LVF) or in the right visual field (RVF). The interaction between the type of stimulus and the hemifield of presentation reached significance in all groups except in patients who underwent a coronary artery bypass. Only young normal adults showed the expected significant RVF advantage when detecting big stimuli and an LVF advantage when detecting small stimuli surrounded by flankers. In older control adults and in patients with myocardial infarction, the RVF advantage for the condition with selective attention vanished. In patients who underwent a coronary artery bypass, reaction times were increased and no hemispheric specialization for selective attention emerged. The results are discussed with regard to the hypothesis of a Hemispheric Asymmetry Reduction in Older Adults (HAROLD model) and to the presence of cognitive dysfunction consecutive to cardiovascular disease.