The Aging in Vision and Action team is a new research group created in 2014 at the Institute of Vision, Paris. It aims at gaining a better understanding of the perceptive and cognitive disturbances occurring with natural visual ageing in humans. Natural ageing of the visual system induces a complex pattern of perceptual, cognitive, and executive disturbances. The natural progressive degradation of visual functions in the elderly is the core subject of the Aging in Vision and Action team. Our first objective is to characterise how healthy ageing shapes both sensory and cognitive aspects of visual perception and vision-based behaviour. This objective is addressed through a cross-disciplinary approach combining experimental neuroscience (mainly psychophysical and fMRI approaches) and neurocomputational modelling. This two-fold methodology offers a unique vantage point to generate a better understanding of the impact of normal ageing across wide functional spectra and different organisation levels. The impact of age-related visual disturbances on cognitive functions is investigated within a spatial cognition framework, which constitutes a representative case of high-level brain function prominently mediated by active vision. We are investigating how natural ageing shapes the action-perception loop during spatial navigation in ecological-like conditions, by running our experiments in the Streetlab platform, which allows real-life spatial behaviour to be tested (in contrast, for example, to a purely virtual reality environment).
The ‘graying’ of the population makes it critical to stimulate knowledge-based sustainable solutions to a major societal challenge: accompany the elderly persons through accessible visual aids and rehabilitation protocols so as to meet their needs in a satisfactory, customised and appropriate manner, enhancing their healthcare treatment, autonomy and quality of life. Probing age-related effectson visual perception and spatial cognition has the potential to shed light on autonomy loss markers pertinent to the way elderly people interact with the world in their daily life (through active visual sensing and goal-oriented behaviour). Our mid-term objective is the transfer of basic knowledge onto the development of innovative technologies and rehabilitation training solutions to counteract age-related deficits in visual perception and alterations in active visual exploration strategies.