Reduced sensitivity for visual textures affects judgments of shape-from-shading and step climbing behaviour in older adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, UK
  • Liverpool John Moores University


Falls on stairs are a major hazard for older adults. Visual decline in normal aging can affect step climbing ability, altering gait and reducing toe clearance. Here we show that a loss of fine-grained visual information associated with age can affect the perception of surface undulations in patterned surfaces. We go on to show that such cues affect the limb trajectories of young adults, but due to their lack of sensitivity, not that of older adults. Interestingly neither the perceived height of a step nor conscious awareness are altered by our visual manipulation but stepping behaviour is: suggesting that the influence of shape perception on stepping behaviour is via the unconscious, action-centred, dorsal visual pathway.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-583
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Early online date5 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • vision, texture, shape-from-shading, step climbing