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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Marketers must learn not to distract

In Sept 2008 I wrote about a research study from the US showing the connection between the two models of cognitive ageing. In my layman’s terms, the inability to filter out distractions and the slowing processing speed.

Some further research has just been published that adds a bit more insight into the subject. For the scientists amongst you the research paper can be found in this edition of the Journal of Neuroscience: A Neural Mechanism Underlying Memory Failure in Older Adults.

The research team asked young and old people to attempt a memory test while in a scanner showing which bits of their brain were working.

The older subjects did worse at the tests, and their brains responded more to the background buzzing and banging from the scanner itself.

This distraction can be both sound and vision, where older subjects were more likely to focus on the landscape in a picture rather than the figure within it or on the background noise not the main tune.

The researchers found that when both the old and young volunteers failed to remember a face, there was less activity in the hippocampus, as might be expected.
However, when the older subjects failed, there was also increased activity in two other parts of the brain, the auditory cortex and the pre-frontal cortex, which are responsible for processing signals from the external environment.

When will Web and print designers start to understand these cognitive effects of ageing and ensure they construct as quiet and distraction free environment. It is a no, distraction free, brainer. Dick Stroud

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