Conference paper

Understanding the role of age and fluid intelligence in information search

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In this study, we explore the role of age and fluid intelligence on the behavior of people looking for information in a real-world search space. Analyses of mouse moves, clicks, and eye movements provide a window into possible differences in both task strategy and performance, and allow us to begin to separate the influence of age from the correlated but isolable influence of cognitive ability. We found little evidence of differences in strategy between younger and older participants matched on fluid intelligence. Both performance and strategy differences were found between older participants having higher versus lower fluid intelligence, however, suggesting that cognitive factors, rather than age per se, exert the dominant influence. This underscores the importance of measuring and controlling for cognitive abilities in studies involving older adults.