Extracting repeated patterns from our surroundings plays a crucial role in contextualizing information, making predictions, and guiding our behavior implicitly. Previous research showed that contextual cueing enhances visual search performance in younger adults. In this study, we investigated whether contextual cueing could also improve older adults' performance and whether age-related differences in the neural processes underlying implicit contextual learning could be detected. Twenty-four younger and 25 older participants performed a visual search task with contextual cueing. Contextual information was generated using repeated face configurations alongside random new configurations. We measured RT difference between new and repeated configurations; ERPs to uncover the neural processes underlying contextual cueing for early (N2pc), intermediate (P3b), and late (r-LRP) processes; and multiscale entropy and spectral power density analyses to examine neural dynamics. Both younger and older adults showed similar contextual cueing benefits in their visual search efficiency at the behavioral level. In addition, they showed similar patterns regarding contextual information processing: Repeated face configurations evoked decreased finer timescale entropy (1–20 msec) and higher frequency band power (13–30 Hz) compared with new configurations. However, we detected age-related differences in ERPs: Younger, but not older adults, had larger N2pc and P3b components for repeated compared with new configurations. These results suggest that contextual cueing remains intact with aging. Although attention- and target-evaluation-related ERPs differed between the age groups, the neural dynamics of contextual learning were preserved with aging, as both age groups increasingly utilized more globally grouped representations for repeated face configurations during the learning process.

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