Rany Abend; Mira A Bajaj; Chika Matsumoto; Marissa Yetter; Anita Harrewijn; Elise M Cardinale; Katharina Kircanski; Eli R Lebowitz; Wendy K Silverman; Yair Bar-Haim; Amit Lazarov; Ellen Leibenluft; Melissa Brotman; Daniel S Pine
In: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, pp. 1–14, 2020.
This report examines the relationship between pediatric anxiety disorders and implicit bias evoked by threats. To do so, the report uses two tasks that assess implicit bias to negative-valence faces, the first by eye-gaze and the second by measuring body-movement parameters. The report contrasts task performance in 51 treatment-seeking, medication-free pediatric patients with anxiety disorders and 36 healthy peers. Among these youth, 53 completed an eye-gaze task, 74 completed a body-movement task, and 40 completed both tasks. On the eye-gaze task, patients displayed longer gaze duration on negative relative to non-negative valence faces than healthy peers, F(1, 174) = 8.27
Mehrnoosh Ahmadi; Mitra Judi; Anahita Khorrami; Javad Mahmoudi-Gharaei; Mehdi Tehrani-Doost
In: Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 87–91, 2011.
OBJECTIVE: Early recognition of negative emotions is considered to be of vital importance. It seems that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have some difficulties recognizing facial emotional expressions, especially negative ones. This study investigated the preference of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for negative (angry, sad) facial expressions compared to normal children. METHOD: Participants were 35 drug naive boys with ADHD, aged between 6-11 years,and 31 matched healthy children. Visual orientation data were recorded while participants viewed face pairs (negative-neutral pairs) shown for 3000ms. The number of first fixations made to each expression was considered as an index of initial orientation. RESULTS: Group comparisons revealed no difference between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder group and their matched healthy counterparts in initial orientation of attention. A tendency towards negative emotions was found within the normal group, while no difference was observed between initial allocation of attention toward negative and neutral expressions in children with ADHD. CONCLUSION: Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder do not have significant preference for negative facial expressions. In contrast, normal children have a significant preference for negative facial emotions rather than neutral faces.
Evin Aktar; Maartje E J Raijmakers; Mariska E Kret
Pupil mimicry in infants and parents Journal Article
In: Cognition and Emotion, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 1160–1170, 2020.
Changes in pupil size can reflect social interest or affect, and tend to get mimicked by observers during eye contact. Pupil mimicry has recently been observed in young infants, whereas it is unknown whether the extent and the speed of infants' pupil mimicry response are identical to that of adults. Moreover, the question of whether pupil mimicry in infants is modulated by the race of the observed other remains to be explored. In two studies, pupil mimicry was investigated in infants and their parents. In the first study, 6-, 12- and 18-month-olds (n = 194) and their parents (n = 192) observed eyes with dynamically dilating, constricting, or static pupils. Infants mimicked the pupil sizes of the observed eyes like their parents, but responded slower. Study 2 replicated these findings in a new sample of infants (n = 55, 12-month-olds) and parents (n = 64), and further showed that the pupil mimicry response was not significantly modulated by the race of the observed partner neither in infants nor in parents. We conclude that pupil mimicry is an ancient bonding mechanism that helps to connect people.
Nadia Alahyane; Christelle Lemoine-Lardennois; Coline Tailhefer; Thérèse Collins; Jacqueline Fagard; Karine Doré-Mazars
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 1–12, 2016.
From birth, infants move their eyes to explore their environment, interact with it, and progressively develop a multitude of motor and cognitive abilities. The characteristics and development of oculomotor control in early childhood remain poorly understood today. Here, we examined reaction time and amplitude of saccadic eye movements in 93 7- to 42-month-old children while they oriented toward visual animated cartoon characters appearing at unpredictable locations on a computer screen over 140 trials. Results revealed that saccade performance is immature in children compared to a group of adults: Saccade reaction times were longer, and saccade amplitude relative to target location (10° eccentricity) was shorter. Results also indicated that performance is flexible in children. Although saccade reaction time decreased as age increased, suggesting developmental improvements in saccade control, saccade amplitude gradually improved over trials. Moreover, similar to adults, children were able to modify saccade amplitude based on the visual error made in the previous trial. This second set of results suggests that short visual experience and/or rapid sensorimotor learning are functional in children and can also affect saccade performance.
Noor Z Al Dahhan; John R Kirby; Donald C Brien; Douglas P Munoz
In: Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 275–285, 2017.
Abstract Naming speed (NS) refers to how quickly and accurately participants name a set of familiar stimuli (e.g., letters). NS is an established predictor of reading ability, but controversy remains over why it is related to reading. We used three techniques (stimulus manipulations to emphasize phonological and/or visual aspects, decomposition of NS times into pause and articulation components, and analysis of eye movements during task performance) with three groups of participants (children with dyslexia, ages 9–10; chronological-age [CA] controls, ages 9–10; reading-level [RL] controls, ages 6–7) to examine NS and the NS–reading relationship. Results indicated (a) for all groups, increasing visual similarity of the letters decreased letter naming efficiency and increased naming errors, saccades, regressions (rapid eye movements back to letters already fixated), pause times, and fixation durations; (b) children with dyslexia performed like RL controls and were less efficient, had longer articulation times, pause times, fixation durations, and made more errors and regressions than CA controls; and (c) pause time and fixation duration were the most powerful predictors of reading. We conclude that NS is related to reading via fixation durations and pause times: Longer fixation durations and pause times reflect the greater amount of time needed to acquire visual/orthographic information from stimuli and prepare the correct response.
Eric S Allard; Elizabeth A Kensinger
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 5, pp. 1–10, 2014.
The present study examined age differences in the timing and neural recruitment within lateral and medial PFC while younger and older adults hedonically regulated their responses to unpleasant film clips. When analyses focused on activity during the emotional peak of the film clip (the most emotionally salient portion of the film), several age differences emerged. When comparing regulation to passive viewing (combined effects of selective attention and reappraisal) younger adults showed greater regulation related activity in lateral PFC (DLPFC, VLPFC, OFC) and medial PFC (ACC) while older adults showed greater activation within a region DLPFC. When assessing distinct effects of the regulation conditions, an ANOVA revealed a significant Age x Regulation Condition interaction within bilateral DLPFC and ACC; older adults but not young adults showed greater recruitment within these regions for reappraisal than selective attention. When examining activity at the onset of the film clip and at its emotional peak, the timing of reappraisal-related activity within VLPFC differed between age groups: younger adults showed greater activity at film onset while older adults showed heightened activity during the peak. Our results suggest that older adults rely more heavily on PFC recruitment when engaging cognitively demanding reappraisal strategies while PFC-mediated regulation might not be as task-specific for younger adults. Older adults' greater reliance on cognitive control processing during emotion regulation may also be reflected in the time needed to implement these strategies.
Eric S Allard; Elizabeth A Kensinger
In: Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, vol. 69, no. 6, pp. 852–860, 2014.
OBJECTIVES: Successful emotion regulation partly depends on our capacity to modulate emotional responses through the use of cognitive strategies. Age may affect the strategies employed most often; thus, we examined younger and older adults' neural network connectivity when employing two different strategies: cognitive reappraisal and selective attention.$backslash$n$backslash$nMETHOD: The current study used psychophysiological interaction analyses to examine functional connectivity with a region of anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) because it is a core part of an emotion regulation network showing relative structural preservation with age.$backslash$n$backslash$nRESULTS: Functional connectivity between ACC and prefrontal cortex (PFC) was greater for reappraisal relative to selective attention and passive viewing conditions for both age groups. For younger adults, ACC was more strongly connected with lateral dorsolateral PFC, ventrolateral PFC, dorsomedial PFC, and posterior cingulate regions during reappraisal. For older adults, stronger connectivity during reappraisal was observed primarily in ventromedial PFC and orbitofrontal cortex.$backslash$n$backslash$nDISCUSSION: Our results suggest that although young and older adults engage PFC networks during regulation, and particularly during reappraisal, the regions within these networks might differ. Additionally, these results clarify that, despite prior evidence for age-related declines in the structure and function of those regions, older adults are able to recruit ACC and PFC regions as part of coherent network during emotion regulation.
Roberto G de Almeida; Julia Di Nardo; Caitlyn Antal; Michael W von Grünau
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, pp. 1–20, 2019.
As Macnamara (1978) once asked, how can we talk about what we see? We report on a study manipulating realistic dynamic scenes and sentences aiming to understand the interaction between linguistic and visual representations in real-world situations. Specifically, we monitored participants' eye movements as they watched video clips of everyday scenes while listening to sentences describing these scenes. We manipulated two main variables. The first was the semantic class of the verb in the sentence and the second was the action/motion of the agent in the unfolding event. The sentences employed two verb classes–causatives (e.g., break) and perception/psychological (e.g., notice)–which impose different constraints on the nouns that serve as their grammatical complements. The scenes depicted events in which agents either moved toward a target object (always the referent of the verb-complement noun), away from it, or remained neutral performing a given activity (such as cooking). Scenes and sentences were synchronized such that the verb onset corresponded to the first video frame of the agent motion toward or away from the object. Results show effects of agent motion but weak verb-semantic restrictions: causatives draw more attention to potential referents of their grammatical complements than perception verbs only when the agent moves toward the target object. Crucially, we found no anticipatory verb-driven eye movements toward the target object, contrary to studies using non-naturalistic and static scenes. We propose a model in which linguistic and visual computations in real-world situations occur largely independent of each other during the early moments of perceptual input, but rapidly interact at a central, conceptual system using a common, propositional code. Implications for language use in real world contexts are discussed.
Ted S Altschuler; Sophie Molholm; John S Butler; Manuel R Mercier; Alice B Brandwein; John J Foxe
In: NeuroImage, vol. 90, pp. 360–373, 2014.
The adult human visual system can efficiently fill-in missing object boundaries when low-level information from the retina is incomplete, but little is known about how these processes develop across childhood. A decade of visual-evoked potential (VEP) studies has produced a theoretical model identifying distinct phases of contour completion in adults. The first, termed a perceptual phase, occurs from approximately 100-200. ms and is associated with automatic boundary completion. The second is termed a conceptual phase occurring between 230 and 400. ms. The latter has been associated with the analysis of ambiguous objects which seem to require more effort to complete. The electrophysiological markers of these phases have both been localized to the lateral occipital complex, a cluster of ventral visual stream brain regions associated with object-processing. We presented Kanizsa-type illusory contour stimuli, often used for exploring contour completion processes, to neurotypical persons ages 6-31 (N. = 63), while parametrically varying the spatial extent of these induced contours, in order to better understand how filling-in processes develop across childhood and adolescence. Our results suggest that, while adults complete contour boundaries in a single discrete period during the automatic perceptual phase, children display an immature response pattern-engaging in more protracted processing across both timeframes and appearing to recruit more widely distributed regions which resemble those evoked during adult processing of higher-order ambiguous figures. However, children older than 5. years of age were remarkably like adults in that the effects of contour processing were invariant to manipulation of contour extent.
Kenn Apel; Danielle Brimo; Elizabeth B Wilson-Fowler; Christian Vorstius; Ralph Radach
In: Scientific Studies of Reading, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 286–302, 2013.
We examined whether young children acquire orthographic knowledge during structured adult-led storybook reading even though minimal viewing time is devoted to print. Sixty-two kindergarten children were read 12 storybook ?chapters? while their eye movements were tracked. Results indicated that the children quickly acquired initial mental graphemic representations of target nonwords. This learning occurred even though they focused on the target nonwords approximately one fourth of the total time while viewing the pages. Their ability to acquire the initial orthographic representations of the target nonwords and their viewing time was affected by the linguistic statistical regularities of the words. The results provide evidence of orthographic learning during structured storybook reading and for the use of implicit linguistic statistical regularities for learning new orthographic word forms in the early stages of reading development.
Scott P Ardoin; Katherine S Binder; Andrea M Zawoyski; Eloise Nimocks; Tori E Foster
In: Reading Research Quarterly, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 507–529, 2019.
The authors sought to further the understanding of reading processes and their links to comprehension using two reading tasks for elementary-grade students. One hundred sixty-six students in grades 2–5 were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: reading with questions presented concurrently with text or reading with questions presented after reading the text (with the text unavailable when answering questions). Eye movement data suggested different processes for each task: Rereading occurred and more time was spent on higher level processing measures in the with-text condition, and in particular, those who did not reread had more accurate answers than those who engaged in rereading. Measurement of students' precision in returning directly to the portion of the passage with information corresponding to a question also predicted students' response accuracy.
Natsuki Atagi; Scott P Johnson
In: Brain Sciences, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 1–12, 2020.
Early social-linguistic experience influences infants' attention to faces but little is known about how infants attend to the faces of speakers engaging in conversation. Here, we examine how monolingual and bilingual infants attended to speakers during a conversation, and we tested for the possibility that infants' visual attention may be modulated by familiarity with the language being spoken. We recorded eye movements in monolingual and bilingual 15-to-24-month-olds as they watched video clips of speakers using infant-directed speech while conversing in a familiar or unfamiliar language, with each other and to the infant. Overall, findings suggest that bilingual infants visually shift attention to a speaker prior to speech onset more when an unfamiliar, rather than a familiar, language is being spoken. However, this same effect was not found for monolingual infants. Thus, infants' familiarity with the language being spoken, and perhaps their language experiences, may modulate infants' visual attention to speakers.
Emily Atkinson; Matthew W Wagers; Jeffrey Lidz; Colin Phillips; Akira Omaki
Developing incrementality in filler-gap dependency processing Journal Article
In: Cognition, vol. 179, pp. 132–149, 2018.
Much work has demonstrated that children are able to use bottom-up linguistic cues to incrementally interpret sentences, but there is little understanding of the extent to which children's comprehension mechanisms are guided by top-down linguistic information that can be learned from distributional regularities in the input. Using a visual world eye tracking experiment and a corpus analysis, the current study investigates whether 5- and 6-year-old children incrementally assign interpretations to temporarily ambiguous wh-questions like What was Emily eating the cake with __? In the visual world eye-tracking experiment, adults demonstrated evidence for active dependency formation at the earliest region (i.e., the verb region), while 6-year-old children demonstrated a spill-over effect of this bias in the subsequent NP region. No evidence for this bias was found in 5-year-olds, although the speed of arrival at the ultimately correct instrument interpretation appears to be modulated by the vocabulary size. These results suggest that adult-like active formation of filler-gap dependencies begins to emerge around age 6. The corpus analysis of filler-gap dependency structures in adult corpora and child corpora demonstrate that the distributional regularities in either corpora are equally in favor of early, incremental completion of filler-gap dependencies, suggesting that the distributional information in the input is either not relevant to this incremental bias, or that 5-year-old children are somehow unable to recruit this information in real-time comprehension. Taken together, these findings shed light on the origin of the incremental processing bias in filler-gap dependency processing, as well as on the role of language experience and cognitive constraints in the development of incremental sentence processing mechanisms.
Inbar Avni; Gal Meiri; Asif Bar-Sinai; Doron Reboh; Liora Manelis; Hagit Flusser; Analya Michaelovski; Idan Menashe; Ilan Dinstein
In: Autism Research, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 935–946, 2020.
Previous eye-tracking studies have reported that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) fixate less on faces in comparison to controls. To properly understand social interactions, however, children must gaze not only at faces but also at actions, gestures, body movements, contextual details, and objects, thereby creating specific gaze patterns when observing specific social interactions. We presented three different movies with social interactions to 111 children (71 with ASD) who watched each of the movies twice. Typically developing children viewed the movies in a remarkably predictable and reproducible manner, exhibiting gaze patterns that were similar to the mean gaze pattern of other controls, with strong correlations across individuals (intersubject correlations) and across movie presentations (intra-subject correlations). In contrast, children with ASD exhibited significantly more variable/idiosyncratic gaze patterns that differed from the mean gaze pattern of controls and were weakly correlated across individuals and presentations. Most importantly, quantification of gaze idiosyncrasy in individual children enabled separation of ASD and control children with higher sensitivity and specificity than traditional measures such as time gazing at faces. Individual magnitudes of gaze idiosyncrasy were also significantly correlated with ASD severity and cognitive scores and were significantly correlated across movies and movie presentations, demonstrating clinical sensitivity and reliability. These results suggest that gaze idiosyncrasy is a potent behavioral abnormality that characterizes a considerable number of children with ASD and may contribute to their impaired development. Quantification of gaze idiosyncrasy in individual children may aid in assessing symptom severity and their change in response to treatments. Autism Res 2020, 13: 935-946. textcopyright 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Lay Summary: Typically, developing children watch movies of social interactions in a reliable and predictable manner, attending faces, gestures, actions, body movements, and objects that are relevant to the social interaction and its narrative. Here, we demonstrate that children with ASD watch such movies with significantly more variable/idiosyncratic gaze patterns that differ across individuals and across movie presentations. We demonstrate that quantifying this gaze variability may aid in identifying children with ASD and in determining the severity of their symptoms.
Emma L Axelsson; Rachelle L Dawson; Sharon Y Yim; Tashfia Quddus
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, pp. 1–9, 2018.
Adults demonstrate enhanced memory for words encoded as belonging to themselves compared to those belonging to another. Known as the self-reference effect, there is evidence for the effect in children as young as three. Toddlers are efficient in linking novel words to novel objects, but have difficulties retaining multiple word-object associations. The aim here was to investigate the self-reference ownership paradigm on 3-year-old children's retention of novel words. Following exposure to each of four novel word-object pairings, children were told that objects either belonged to them or another character. Children demonstrated significantly higher immediate retention of self-referenced compared to other-referenced items. Retention was also tested 4 h later and the following morning. Retention for self- and other-referenced words was significantly higher than chance at both delayed time points, but the difference between the self- and other-referenced words was no longer significant. The findings suggest that when it comes to toddlers' retention of multiple novel words there is an initial memory enhancing effect for self- compared to other-referenced items, but the difference diminishes over time. Children's looking times during the self-reference presentations were positively associated with retention of self-referenced words 4 h later. Looking times during the other-reference presentations were positively associated with proportional looking at other-referenced items during immediate retention testing. The findings have implications for children's memory for novel words and future studies could test children's explicit memories for the ownership manipulation itself and whether the effect is superior to other forms of memory supports such as ostensive naming.
Emma L Axelsson; Jaclyn Swinton; Amanda I Winiger; Jessica S Horst
Napping and toddlers' memory for fast-mapped words Journal Article
In: First Language, vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 582–595, 2018.
When toddlers hear a novel word, they quickly and independently link it with a novel object rather than known-name objects. However, they are less proficient in retaining multiple novel words. Sleep and even short naps can enhance declarative memory in adults and children and this study investigates the effect of napping on children's memory for novel words. Forty two-and-a-half-year-old children were presented with referent selection trials for four novel nouns. Children's retention of the words was tested immediately after referent selection, four hours later in the afternoon, and the following morning. Half of the toddlers napped prior to the afternoon retention test. Amongst the toddlers who napped, retention scores remained steady four hours after exposure and the following morning. In contrast, for the wake group, there was a steady decline in retention scores by the following morning and significantly lower retention scores compared to the nap group. Napping following exposure to novel word–object ...
Nicole D Ayasse; Arthur Wingfield
In: Trends in Hearing, vol. 22, 2018.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the relationship between effort and performance. Early formulations implied that, as the challenge of a task increases, individuals will exert more effort, with resultant maintenance of stable performance. We report an experiment in which normal-hearing young adults, normal-hearing older adults, and older adults with age-related mild-to-moderate hearing loss were tested for comprehension of recorded sentences that varied the comprehension challenge in two ways. First, sentences were constructed that expressed their meaning either with a simpler subject-relative syntactic structure or a more computationally demanding object-relative structure. Second, for each sentence type, an adjectival phrase was inserted that created either a short or long gap in the sentence between the agent performing an action and the action being performed. The measurement of pupil dilation as an index of processing effort showed effort to increase with task difficulty until a difficulty tipping point was reached. Beyond this point, the measurement of pupil size revealed a commitment of effort by the two groups of older adults who failed to keep pace with task demands as evidenced by reduced comprehension accuracy. We take these pupillometry data as revealing a complex relationship between task difficulty, effort, and performance that might not otherwise appear from task performance alone.
Nicolai D Ayasse; Arthur Wingfield
In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 14, pp. 1–11, 2020.
Studies of spoken word recognition have reliably shown that both younger and older adults' recognition of acoustically degraded words is facilitated by the presence of a linguistic context. Against this benefit, older adults' word recognition can be differentially hampered by interference from other words that could also fit the context. These prior studies have primarily used off-line response measures such as the signal-to-noise ratio needed for a target word to be correctly identified. Less clear is the locus of these effects; whether facilitation and interference have their influence primarily during response selection, or whether their effects begin to operate even before a sentence-final target word has been uttered. This question was addressed by tracking 20 younger and 20 older adults' eye fixations on a visually presented target word that corresponded to the final word of a contextually constraining or neutral sentence, accompanied by a second word on the computer screen that in some cases could also fit the sentence context. Growth curve analysis of the time-course of eye-gaze on a target word showed facilitation and inhibition effects begin to appear even as a spoken sentence is unfolding in time. Consistent with an age-related inhibition deficit, older adults' word recognition was slowed by the presence of a semantic competitor to a degree not observed for younger adults, with this effect operating early in the recognition process.
Senay Aydin; Niall C Strang; Velitchko Manahilov
In: Vision Research, vol. 77, pp. 32–40, 2013.
Some aspects of attentional processing are known to decline with normal aging. To understand how age affects the attentional control of perceptual stability, we investigated age-related changes in voluntarily controlled perceptual rivalry. Durations of the dominant percept, produced by an ambiguous Rubin vase-faces figure, were measured in conditions that required passive viewing and attentional control: holding and switching the dominant percept. During passive viewing, mean dominance duration in the older group was significantly longer (63%) than the dominance duration found in the young group. This age-related deficit could be due to a decline in the apparent strength of the alternating percepts as a result of higher contrast gain of visual cortical activity and a reduction in the amount of attentional resources allocated to the ambiguous stimulus in older people compared to young adults. In comparison to passive viewing, holding the dominant percept did not significantly alter the dominance durations in the older group, while the dominance durations in the young group were increased (~100%). The dominance durations for both age groups in switch conditions were reduced compared to their passive viewing durations (~40%). The inability of older people to voluntarily prolong the duration of the dominant percept suggests that they may have abnormal attentional mechanisms, which are inefficient at enhancing the effective strength of the dominant percept. Results suggest that older adults have difficulty holding attended visual objects in focus, a problem that could affect their ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Jasmine R Aziz; Samantha R Good; Raymond M Klein; Gail A Eskes
In: Cortex, vol. 136, pp. 28–40, 2021.
Studying age-related changes in working memory (WM) and visual search can provide insights into mechanisms of visuospatial attention. In visual search, WM is used to remember previously inspected objects/locations and to maintain a mental representation of the target to guide the search. We sought to extend this work, using aging as a case of reduced WM capacity. The present study tested whether various domains of WM would predict visual search performance in both young (n = 47; aged 18-35 yrs) and older (n = 48; aged 55-78) adults. Participants completed executive and domain-specific WM measures, and a naturalistic visual search task with (single) feature and triple-conjunction (three-feature) search conditions. We also varied the WM load requirements of the search task by manipulating whether a reference picture of the target (i.e., target template) was displayed during the search, or whether participants needed to search from memory. In both age groups, participants with better visuospatial executive WM were faster to locate complex search targets. Working memory storage capacity predicted search performance regardless of target complexity; however, visuospatial storage capacity was more predictive for young adults, whereas verbal storage capacity was more predictive for older adults. Displaying a target template during search diminished the involvement of WM in search performance, but this effect was primarily observed in young adults. Age-specific interactions between WM and visual search abilities are discussed in the context of mechanisms of visuospatial attention and how they may vary across the lifespan.
Mireille Babineau; Alex de Carvalho; John Trueswell; Anne Christophe
In: Developmental Science, vol. 24, pp. 1–12, 2020.
Young children can exploit the syntactic context of a novel word to narrow down its probable meaning. But how do they learn which contexts are linked to which semantic features in the first place? We investigate if 3- to 4-year-old children (n = 60) can learn about a syntactic context from tracking its use with only a few familiar words. After watching a 5-min training video in which a novel function word (i.e., ‘ko') replaced either personal pronouns or articles, children were able to infer semantic properties for novel words co-occurring with the newly learned function word (i.e., objects vs. actions). These findings implicate a mechanism by which a distributional analysis, associated with a small vocabulary of known words, could be sufficient to identify some properties associated with specific syntactic contexts.
Cathleen Bache; Anne Springer; Hannes Noack; Waltraud Stadler; Franziska Kopp; Ulman Lindenberger; Markus Werkle-Bergner
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 8, pp. 1–18, 2017.
Research has shown that infants are able to track a moving target efficiently – even if it is transiently occluded from sight. This basic ability allows prediction of when and where events happen in everyday life. Yet, it is unclear whether, and how, infants internally represent the time course of ongoing movements to derive predictions. In this study, 10-month-old crawlers observed the video of a same-aged crawling baby that was transiently occluded and reappeared in either a temporally continuous or non-continuous manner (i.e., delayed by 500 ms vs. forwarded by 500 ms relative to the real-time movement). Eye movement and rhythmic neural brain activity (EEG) were measured simultaneously. Eye movement analyses showed that infants were sensitive to slight temporal shifts in movement continuation after occlusion. Furthermore, brain activity associated with sensorimotor processing differed between observation of continuous and non-continuous movements. Early sensitivity to an action's timing may hence be explained within the internal real-time simulation account of action observation. Overall, the results support the hypothesis that 10-month-old infants are well prepared for internal representation of the time course of observed movements that are within the infants' current motor repertoire.
Chiara Banfi; Ferenc Kemény; Melanie Gangl; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Kristina Moll; Karin Landerl
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. e0180358, 2017.
Dyslexia has been claimed to be causally related to deficits in visuo-spatial attention. In particular, inefficient shifting of visual attention during spatial cueing paradigms is assumed to be associated with problems in graphemic parsing during sublexical reading. The current study investigated visuo-spatial attention performance in an exogenous cueing paradigm in a large sample (N = 191) of third and fourth graders with different reading and spelling profiles (controls, isolated reading deficit, isolated spelling deficit, combined deficit in reading and spelling). Once individual variability in reaction times was taken into account by means of z-transformation, a cueing deficit (i.e. no significant difference between valid and invalid trials) was found for children with combined deficits in reading and spelling. However, poor readers without spelling problems showed a cueing effect comparable to controls, but exhibited a particularly strong right-over-left advantage (position effect). Isolated poor spellers showed a significant cueing effect, but no position effect. While we replicated earlier findings of a reduced cueing effect among poor nonword readers (indicating deficits in sublexical processing), we also found a reduced cueing effect among children with particularly poor orthographic spelling (indicating deficits in lexical processing). Thus, earlier claims of a specific association with nonword reading could not be confirmed. Controlling for ADHD-symptoms reported in a parental questionnaire did not impact on the statistical analysis, indicating that cueing deficits are not caused by more general attentional limitations. Between 31 and 48% of participants in the three reading and/or spelling deficit groups as well as 32% of the control group showed reduced spatial cueing. These findings indicate a significant, but moderate association between certain aspects of visuo-spatial attention and subcomponents of written language processing, the causal status of which is yet unclear.
Chiara Banfi; Ferenc Kemény; Melanie Gangl; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Kristina Moll; Karin Landerl
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. e0198903, 2018.
An impairment in the visual attention span (VAS) has been suggested to hamper reading performance of individuals with dyslexia. It is not clear, however, if the very nature of the deficit is visual or verbal and, importantly, if it affects spelling skills as well. The current study investigated VAS by means of forced choice tasks with letters and symbols in a sample of third and fourth graders with age-adequate reading and spelling skills (n= 43), a typical dyslexia profile with combined reading and spelling deficits (n= 26) and isolated spelling deficits (n= 32). The task was devised to contain low phonological short-term memory load and to overcome the limitations of oral reports. Notably, eye-movements were monitored to control that children fixated the center of the display when stimuli were presented. Results yielded no main effect of group as well as no group-related interactions, thus showing that children with dyslexia and isolated spelling deficits did not manifest a VAS deficit for letters or symbols once certain methodological aspects were controlled for. The present results could not replicate previous evidence for the involvement of VAS in reading and dyslexia.
Wesley R Barnhart; Samuel Rivera; Christopher W Robinson
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, pp. 1–11, 2018.
Effects of linguistic labels on learning outcomes are well-established; however, developmental research examining possible mechanisms underlying these effects have provided mixed results. We used a novel paradigm where 8-year-olds and adults were simultaneously trained on three sparse categories (categories with many irrelevant or unique features and a single rule defining feature). Category members were either associated with the same label, different labels, or no labels (silent baseline). Similar to infant paradigms, participants passively viewed individual exemplars and we examined fixations to category relevant features across training. While it is well established that adults can optimize their attention in forced-choice categorization tasks without linguistic input, the present findings provide support for label induced attention optimization: simply hearing the same label associated with different exemplars was associated with increased attention to category relevant features over time, and participants continued to focus on these features on a subsequent recognition task. Participants also viewed images longer and made more fixations when images were paired with unique labels. These findings provide support for the claim that labels may facilitate categorization by directing attention to category relevant features.
Wesley R Barnhart; Samuel Rivera; Christopher W Robinson
Different patterns of modality dominance across development Journal Article
In: Acta Psychologica, vol. 182, pp. 154–165, 2018.
The present study sought to better understand how children, young adults, and older adults attend and respond to multisensory information. In Experiment 1, young adults were presented with two spoken words, two pictures, or two word-picture pairings and they had to determine if the two stimuli/pairings were exactly the same or different. Pairing the words and pictures together slowed down visual but not auditory response times and delayed the latency of first fixations, both of which are consistent with a proposed mechanism underlying auditory dominance. Experiment 2 examined the development of modality dominance in children, young adults, and older adults. Cross-modal presentation attenuated visual accuracy and slowed down visual response times in children, whereas older adults showed the opposite pattern, with cross-modal presentation attenuating auditory accuracy and slowing down auditory response times. Cross-modal presentation also delayed first fixations in children and young adults. Mechanisms underlying modality dominance and multisensory processing are discussed.
Carol L Baym; Naiman A Khan; Jim M Monti; Lauren B Raine; Eric S Drollette; Davis R Moore; Mark R Scudder; Arthur F Kramer; Charles H Hillman; Neal J Cohen
In: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 99, no. 5, pp. 1026–1033, 2014.
BACKGROUND: Studies in rodents and older humans have shown that the hippocampus-a brain structure critical to relational/associative memory-has remarkable plasticity as a result of lifestyle factors (eg, exercise). However, the effect of dietary intake on hippocampal-dependent memory during childhood has remained unexamined.$backslash$n$backslash$nOBJECTIVE: We investigated the cross-sectional relation of dietary components characteristic of the Western diet, including saturated fatty acids (SFAs), omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, and refined sugar, with hippocampal-dependent relational memory in prepubescent children.$backslash$n$backslash$nDESIGN: Participants aged 7-9 y (n = 52) reported their dietary intake by using the Youth-Adolescent Food-Frequency Questionnaire and completed memory tasks designed to assess relational (hippocampal-dependent) and item (hippocampal-independent) memory. Performance on the memory tasks was assessed with both direct (accuracy) and indirect (eye movement) measures.$backslash$n$backslash$nRESULTS: Partial correlations adjusted for body mass index showed a positive relation between relational memory accuracy and intake of omega-3 fatty acids and a negative relation of both relational and item memory accuracy with intake of SFAs. Potential confounding factors of age, sex, intelligence quotient, socioeconomic status, pubertal timing, and aerobic fitness (maximal oxygen volume) were not significantly related to any of the dietary intake measures. Eye movement measures of relational memory (preferential viewing to the target stimulus) showed a negative relation with intake of added sugar.$backslash$n$backslash$nCONCLUSIONS: SFA intake was negatively associated with both forms of memory, whereas omega-3 fatty acid intake was selectively positively associated with hippocampal-dependent relational memory. These findings are among the first to show a link between habitual dietary intake and cognitive health as pertaining to hippocampal function in childhood.
Ensar Becic; Arthur F Kramer; Walter R Boot
In: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 109–125, 2007.
The effect of background layout on visual search performance, and more specifically on the tendency to refixate previously inspected locations and objects, was investigated. Older and younger adults performed a search task in which a background layout or landmark was present or absent in a gaze contingent visual search paradigm. Regardless of age, participants demonstrated fewer refixations when landmarks were present, with older adults showing a larger landmark advantage. This visual search advantage did not come at the cost of saccadic latency. Furthermore, the visual search performance advantage obtained in the presence of a background layout or landmark was observed both for individuals with small and large memory spans.
Ensar Becic; Walter R Boot; Arthur F Kramer
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 461–466, 2008.
The authors examined the ability of older adults to modify their search strategies to detect changes in dynamic displays. Older adults who made few eye movements during search (i.e., covert searchers) were faster and more accurate compared with individuals who made many eye movements (i.e., overt searchers). When overt searchers were instructed to adopt a covert search strategy, target detection performance increased to the level of natural covert searchers. Similarly, covert searchers instructed to search overtly exhibited a decrease in target detection performance. These data suggest that with instructions and minimal practice, older adults can ameliorate the cost of a poor search strategy.
In: Nordidactica – Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, vol. 1, pp. 38–62, 2016.
This paper investigates how textbook design may influence students' visual attention to graphics, photos and text in current geography textbooks. Eye tracking, a visual method of data collection and analysis, was utilised to precisely monitor students' eye movements while observing geography textbook spreads. In an exploratory study utilising random sampling, the eye movements of 20 students (secondary school students 15–17 years of age and university students 20–24 years of age) were recorded. The research entities were double- page spreads of current German geography textbooks covering an identical topic, taken from five separate textbooks. A two-stage test was developed. Each participant was given the task of first looking at the entire textbook spread to determine what was being explained on the pages. In the second stage, participants solved one of the tasks from the exercise section. Overall, each participant studied five different textbook spreads and completed five set tasks. After the eye tracking study, each participant completed a questionnaire. The results may verify textbook design as one crucial factor for successful knowledge acquisition from textbooks. Based on the eye tracking documentation, learning-related challenges posed by images and complex image-text structures in textbooks are elucidated and related to educational psychology insights and findings from visual communication and textbook analysis.
Nathalie N Bélanger; Michelle Lee; Elizabeth R Schotter
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 291–301, 2018.
Recent evidence suggests that deaf people have enhanced visual attention to simple stimuli in the parafovea in comparison to hearing people. Although a large part of reading involves processing the fixated words in foveal vision, readers also utilize information in parafoveal vision to pre-process upcoming words and decide where to look next. We investigated whether auditory deprivation affects low-level visual processing during reading, and compared the perceptual span of deaf signers who were skilled and less skilled readers to that of skilled hearing readers. Compared to hearing readers, deaf readers had a larger perceptual span than would be expected by their reading ability. These results provide the first evidence that deaf readers' enhanced attentional allocation to the parafovea is used during a complex cognitive task such as reading.
Eva Belke; Antje S Meyer
Single and multiple object naming in healthy ageing Journal Article
In: Language and Cognitive Processes, vol. 22, no. 8, pp. 1178–1211, 2007.
We compared the performance of young (college-aged) and older (50'years) speakers in a single object and a multiple object naming task and assessed their susceptibility to semantic and phonological context effects when producing words amidst semantically or phonologically similar or dissimilar words. In single object naming, there were no performance differences between the age groups. In multiple object naming, we observed significant age-related slowing, expressed in longer gazes to the objects and slower speech. In addition, the direction of the phonological context effects differed for the two groups. The results of a supplementary experiment showed that young speakers, when adopting a slow speech rate, coordinated their eye movements and speech differently from the older speakers. Our results imply that age-related slowing in connected speech is not a direct consequence of a slowing of lexical retrieval processes. Instead, older speakers might allocate more processing capacity to speech monitoring processes, which would slow down their concurrent speech planning processes.
Stéphanie Bellocchi; Delphine Massendari; Jonathan Grainger; Stéphanie Ducrot
In: Child Neuropsychology, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 482–506, 2019.
The present study investigated the impact of inter-character spacing on saccade programming in beginning readers and dyslexic children. In two experiments, eye movements were recorded while dyslexic children, reading-age, and chronological-age controls, performed an oculomotor lateralized bisection task on words and strings of hashes presented either with default inter-character spacing or with extra spacing between the characters. The results of Experiment 1 showed that (1) only proficient readers had already developed highly automatized procedures for programming both left- and rightward saccades, depending on the discreteness of the stimuli and (2) children of all groups were disrupted (i.e., had trouble to land close to the beginning of the stimuli) by extra spacing between the characters of the stimuli, and particularly for stimuli presented in the left visual field. Experiment 2 was designed to disentangle the role of inter-character spacing and spatial width. Stimuli were made the same physical length in the default and extra-spacing conditions by having more characters in the default spacing condition. Our results showed that inter-letter spacing still influenced saccade programming when controlling for spatial width, thus confirming the detrimental effect of extra spacing for saccade programming. We conclude that the beneficial effect of increased inter-letter spacing on reading can be better explained in terms of decreased visual crowding than improved saccade targeting.
Boaz M Ben-David; Craig G Chambers; Meredyth Daneman; Kathleen M Pichora-Fuller; Eyal M Reingold; Bruce A Schneider
In: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vol. 54, pp. 243–262, 2011.
PURPOSE: To use eye tracking to investigate age differences in real-time lexical processing in quiet and in noise in light of the fact that older adults find it more difficult than younger adults to understand conversations in noisy situations. METHOD: Twenty-four younger and 24 older adults followed spoken instructions referring to depicted objects, for example, "Look at the candle." Eye movements captured listeners' ability to differentiate the target noun (candle) from a similar-sounding phonological competitor (e.g., candy or sandal). Manipulations included the presence/absence of noise, the type of phonological overlap in target-competitor pairs, and the number of syllables. RESULTS: Having controlled for age-related differences in word recognition accuracy (by tailoring noise levels), similar online processing profiles were found for younger and older adults when targets were discriminated from competitors that shared onset sounds. Age-related differences were found when target words were differentiated from rhyming competitors and were more extensive in noise. CONCLUSIONS: Real-time spoken word recognition processes appear similar for younger and older adults in most conditions; however, age-related differences may be found in the discrimination of rhyming words (especially in noise), even when there are no age differences in word recognition accuracy. These results highlight the utility of eye movement methodologies for studying speech processing across the life span.
Rachel J Bennetts; Joseph A Mole; Sarah Bate
In: Cognitive Neuropsychology, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 357–376, 2017.
Face recognition abilities vary widely. While face recognition deficits have been reported in children, it is unclear whether superior face recognition skills can be encountered during development. This paper presents O.B., a 14-year-old female with extraordinary face recognition skills: a “super-recognizer” (SR). O.B. demonstrated exceptional face-processing skills across multiple tasks, with a level of performance that is comparable to adult SRs. Her superior abilities appear to be specific to face identity: She showed an exaggerated face inversion effect and her superior abilities did not extend to object processing or non-identity aspects of face recognition. Finally, an eye-movement task demonstrated that O.B. spent more time than controls examining the nose - a pattern previously reported in adult SRs. O.B. is therefore particularly skilled at extracting and using identity-specific facial cues, indicating that face and object recognition are dissociable during development, and that super recognition can be detected in adolescence.
Marion Beretti; Naomi Havron; Anne Christophe
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 200, pp. 1–21, 2020.
A central challenge in language acquisition is the integration of multiple sources of information, potentially in conflict, to acquire new knowledge and adjust current linguistic representations. One way to accomplish this is to assign more weight to more reliable sources of information in context. We tested the hypothesis that children adjust the weight of different sources of information during learning, considering two specific sources of information: their knowledge of the meaning of familiar words (semantics) and their familiarity with syntax. We varied the reliability of these sources of information through an induction phase (reliable syntax or reliable semantics). At test, French 4- and 5-year-old children and adults listened to sentences where information provided by these two cues conflicted and were asked to choose between two videos that illustrate the sentence. One video presented the reasonable choice if the sentence is assumed to be syntactically correct, but familiar words refer to novel things (e.g., une mange–“an eats” describes a novel object). The other video was the reasonable choice if the sentence is assumed to be syntactically incorrect and familiar words' meaning is preserved (e.g., “an eats” describes a girl eating and actually should have been “she eats”). As predicted, the proportion of syntactic choices (e.g., interpreting mange–“eats” as a novel noun) was found to be higher in the reliable syntax condition than in the reliable semantics condition, showing that children and adults can adapt their expectations to the reliability of sources of information.
Elika Bergelson; Daniel Swingley
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 109, no. 9, pp. 3253–3258, 2012.
It is widely accepted that infants begin learning their native language not by learning words, but by discovering features of the speech signal: consonants, vowels, and combinations of these sounds. Learning to understand words, as opposed to just perceiving their sounds, is said to come later, between 9 and 15 mo of age, when infants develop a capacity for interpreting others' goals and intentions. Here, we demonstrate that this consensus about the developmental sequence of human language learning is flawed: in fact, infants already know the meanings of several common words from the age of 6 mo onward. We presented 6- to 9-mo-old infants with sets of pictures to view while their parent named a picture in each set. Over this entire age range, infants directed their gaze to the named pictures, indicating their understanding of spoken words. Because the words were not trained in the laboratory, the results show that even young infants learn ordinary words through daily experience with language. This surprising accomplishment indicates that, contrary to prevailing beliefs, either infants can already grasp the referential intentions of adults at 6 mo or infants can learn words before this ability emerges. The precocious discovery of word meanings suggests a perspective in which learning vocabulary and learning the sound structure of spoken language go hand in hand as language acquisition begins.
Elika Bergelson; Daniel Swingley
The acquisition of abstract words by young infants Journal Article
In: Cognition, vol. 127, no. 3, pp. 391–397, 2013.
Young infants' learning of words for abstract concepts like 'all gone' and 'eat,' in contrast to their learning of more concrete words like 'apple' and 'shoe,' may follow a relatively protracted developmental course. We examined whether infants know such abstract words. Parents named one of two events shown in side-by-side videos while their 6-16-month-old infants (n= 98) watched. On average, infants successfully looked at the named video by 10. months, but not earlier, and infants' looking at the named referent increased robustly at around 14. months. Six-month-olds already understand concrete words in this task (Bergelson & Swingley, 2012). A video-corpus analysis of unscripted mother-infant interaction showed that mothers used the tested abstract words less often in the presence of their referent events than they used concrete words in the presence of their referent objects. We suggest that referential uncertainty in abstract words' teaching conditions may explain the later acquisition of abstract than concrete words, and we discuss the possible role of changes in social-cognitive abilities over the 6-14. month period.
Elika Bergelson; Daniel Swingley
Young toddlers' word comprehension is flexible and efficient Journal Article
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 8, pp. e73359, 2013.
Much of what is known about word recognition in toddlers comes from eyetracking studies. Here we show that the speed and facility with which children recognize words, as revealed in such studies, cannot be attributed to a task-specific, closed-set strategy; rather, children's gaze to referents of spoken nouns reflects successful search of the lexicon. Toddlers' spoken word comprehension was examined in the context of pictures that had two possible names (such as a cup of juice which could be called "cup" or "juice") and pictures that had only one likely name for toddlers (such as "apple"), using a visual world eye-tracking task and a picture-labeling task (n = 77, mean age, 21 months). Toddlers were just as fast and accurate in fixating named pictures with two likely names as pictures with one. If toddlers do name pictures to themselves, the name provides no apparent benefit in word recognition, because there is no cost to understanding an alternative lexical construal of the picture. In toddlers, as in adults, spoken words rapidly evoke their referents.
Elika Bergelson; Richard N Aslin
Nature and origins of the lexicon in 6-mo-olds Journal Article
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114, no. 49, pp. 12916–12921, 2017.
Recent research reported the surprising finding that even 6-mo-olds understand common nouns [Bergelson E, Swingley D (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:3253-3258]. However, is their early lexicon structured and acquired like older learners? We test 6-mo-olds for a hallmark of the mature lexicon: cross-word relations. We also examine whether properties of the home environment that have been linked with lexical knowledge in older children are detectable in the initial stage of comprehension. We use a new dataset, which includes in-lab comprehension and home measures from the same infants. We find evidence for cross-word structure: On seeing two images of common nouns, infants looked significantly more at named target images when the competitor images were semantically unrelated (e.g., milk and foot) than when they were related (e.g., milk and juice), just as older learners do. We further find initial evidence for home-lab links: common noun "copresence" (i.e., whether words' referents were present and attended to in home recordings) correlated with in-lab comprehension. These findings suggest that, even in neophyte word learners, cross-word relations are formed early and the home learning environment measurably helps shape the lexicon from the outset.
Lisa R Betts; Christopher P Taylor; Allison B Sekuler; Patrick J Bennett
In: Neuron, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 361–366, 2005.
Discriminating the direction of motion of a low-contrast pattern becomes easier with increasing stimulus area. However, increasing the size of a high-contrast pattern makes it more difficult for observers to discriminate motion. This surprising result, termed spatial suppression, is thought to be mediated by a form of center-surround suppression found throughout the visual pathway. Here, we examine the counterintuitive hypothesis that aging alters such center-surround interactions in ways that improve performance in some tasks. We found that older observers required briefer stimulus durations than did younger observers to extract information about stimulus direction in conditions using large, high-contrast patterns. We suggest that this age-related improvement in motion discrimination may be linked to reduced GABAergic functioning in the senescent brain, which reduces center-surround suppression in motion-selective neurons.
Lisa R Betts; Allison B Sekuler; Patrick J Bennett
The effects of aging on orientation discrimination Journal Article
In: Vision Research, vol. 47, no. 13, pp. 1769–1780, 2007.
The current experiments measured orientation discrimination thresholds in younger (mean age ≈ 23 years) and older (mean age ≈ 66 years) subjects. In Experiment 1, the contrast needed to discriminate Gabor patterns (0.75, 1.5, and 3 c/deg) that differed in orientation by 12 deg was measured for different levels of external noise. At all three spatial frequencies, discrimination thresholds were significantly higher in older than younger subjects when external noise was low, but not when external noise was high. In Experiment 2, discrimination thresholds were measured as a function of stimulus contrast by varying orientation while contrast was fixed. The resulting threshold-vs-contrast curves had very similar shapes in the two age groups, although the curve obtained from older subjects was shifted to slightly higher contrasts. At contrasts greater than 0.05, thresholds in both older and younger subjects were approximately constant at 0.5 deg. The results from Experiments 1 and 2 suggest that age differences in orientation discrimination are due solely to differences in equivalent input noise. Using the same methods as Experiment 1, Experiment 3 measured thresholds in 6 younger observers as a function of external noise and retinal illuminance. Although reducing retinal illumination increased equivalent input noise, the effect was much smaller than the age difference found in Experiment 1. Therefore, it is unlikely that differences in orientation discrimination were due solely to differences in retinal illumination. Our findings are consistent with recent physiological experiments that have found elevated spontaneous activity and reduced orientation tuning on visual cortical neurons in senescent cats (Hua, T., Li, X., He, L., Zhou, Y., Wang, Y., Leventhal, A. G. (206). Functional degradation of visual cortical cells in old cats.
Rainer Beurskens; Otmar Bock
In: Experimental Brain Research, vol. 217, no. 1, pp. 117–124, 2012.
Earlier work suggests that the area of space from which useful visual information can be extracted (useful field of view, UFoV) shrinks in old age. We investigated whether this shrinkage, documented previously with a visual search task, extends to a bimanual tracking task. Young and elderly subjects executed two concurrent tracking tasks with their right and left arms. The separation between tracking displays varied from 3 to 35 cm. Subjects were asked to fixate straight ahead (condition FIX) or were free to move their eyes (condition FREE). Eye position was registered. In FREE, young subjects tracked equally well at all display separations. Elderly subjects produced higher tracking errors, and the difference between age groups increased with display separation. Eye movements were comparable across age groups. In FIX, elderly and young subjects tracked less well at large display separations. Seniors again produced higher tracking errors in FIX, but the difference between age groups did not increase reliably with display separation. However, older subjects produced a substantial number of illicit saccades, and when the effect of those saccades was factored out, the difference between young and older subjects' tracking did increase significantly with display separation in FIX. We conclude that the age-related shrinkage of UFoV, previously documented with a visual search task, is observable with a manual tracking task as well. Older subjects seem to partly compensate their deficit by illicit saccades. Since the deficit is similar in both conditions, it may be located downstream from the convergence of retinal and oculomotor signals.
Jutta Billino; Goedele van Belle; Bruno Rossion; Gudrun Schwarzer
In: Cognitive Development, vol. 47, pp. 168–180, 2018.
The development of individual face recognition has been intensively studied and supports early expertise in childhood. However, how the differential use of holistic and analytical face processing modes contribute to the well-documented prolonged development of individual face recognition until adulthood remains poorly understood. We applied a gaze-contingency approach to study individual face recognition in 5-year-old children and young adults, allowing selective manipulation of processing modes and providing insights into facial information use through fixation patterns. Although both age groups relied on similar processing modes, children were less efficient in compensating for processing manipulations, in particular when analytical processing was emphasized. They were also less flexible in using facial information. Our findings suggest that efficiency in adaptively exploiting visual information contributes to still developing individual face recognition abilities in children.
Abdullah Bin Zahid; Molly E Hubbard; Julia Lockyer; Olivia E Podolak; Vikalpa M Dammavalam; Matthew Grady; Michael Nance; Mitchell Scheiman; Uzma Samadani; Christina L Master
Eye tracking as a biomarker for concussion in children Journal Article
In: Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, pp. 1–11, 2018.
OBJECTIVE: Concussion is the most common type of brain injury in both pediatric and adult populations and can potentially result in persistent postconcussion symptoms. Objective assessment of physiologic "mild" traumatic brain injury in concussion patients remains challenging. This study evaluates an automated eye-tracking algorithm as a biomarker for concussion as defined by its symptoms and the clinical signs of convergence insufficiency and accommodation dysfunction in a pediatric population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional case-control study. SETTING: Primary care. PATIENTS: Concussed children (N = 56; mean age = 13 years), evaluated at a mean of 22-week post-injury, compared with 83 uninjured controls. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: Metrics comparing velocity and conjugacy of eye movements over time were obtained and were compared with the correlation between Acute Concussion Evaluation (ACE) scores, convergence, and accommodation dysfunction. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Subjects' eye movements recorded with an automated eye tracker while they watched a 220-second cartoon film clip played continuously while moving within an aperture. RESULTS: Twelve eye-tracking metrics were significantly different between concussed and nonconcussed children. A model to classify concussion as diagnosed by its symptoms assessed using the ACE achieved an area under the curve (AUC) = 0.854 (71.9% sensitivity, 84.4% specificity, a cross-validated AUC = 0.789). An eye-tracking model built to identify near point of convergence (NPC) disability achieved 95.8% specificity and 57.1% sensitivity for an AUC = 0.810. Reduced binocular amplitude of accommodation had a Spearman correlation of 0.752(P value textless0.001) with NPC. CONCLUSION: Eye tracking correlated with concussion symptoms and detected convergence and accommodative abnormalities associated with concussion in the pediatric population. It demonstrates utility as a rapid, objective, noninvasive aid in the diagnosis of concussion.
Eileen E Birch; Jingyun Wang; Joost Felius; David R Stager; Richard W Hertle
In: Journal of AAPOS, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 156–160, 2012.
Background: Many children treated for cataracts develop strabismus and nystagmus; however, little is known about the critical period for adverse ocular motor outcomes with respect to age of onset and duration. Methods: Children who had undergone extraction of dense cataracts by the age of 5 years were enrolled postoperatively. Ocular alignment was assessed regularly throughout follow-up. Fixation stability and associated ocular oscillations were determined from eye movement recordings at ≥5 years old. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate whether laterality (unilateral vs bilateral), age at onset, and/or duration of visual deprivation were associated with adverse ocular motor outcomes and to determine multivariate odds ratios (ORs). Results: A total of 41 children were included. Of these, 27 (66%) developed strabismus; 29 (71%) developed nystagmus. Congenital onset was associated with significant risk for strabismus (OR, 5.3; 95% CI, 1.1-34.1); infantile onset was associated with significant risk for nystagmus (OR, 13.6; 95% CI, 1.6-302). Duration textgreater6 weeks was associated with significant risk for both strabismus (OR, 9.1; 95% CI, 1.9-54.2) and nystagmus (OR, 46.2; 95% CI, 6.0-1005). Congenital onset was associated with significant risk for interocular asymmetry in severity of nystagmus (OR, 25.0; 95% CI, 2.6-649), as was unilateral cataract (OR, 58.9; 95% CI, 5.1-2318). Conclusions: Laterality (unilateral vs bilateral) and age at onset were significant nonmodifiable risk factors for adverse ocular motor outcomes. Duration of deprivation was a significant modifiable risk factor for adverse ocular motor outcomes. The current study demonstrated that reduced risk for nystagmus and strabismus was associated with deprivation ≤6 weeks.
Eileen E Birch; Yolanda S Castañeda; Christina S Cheng-Patel; Sarah E Morale; Krista R Kelly; Reed M Jost; Lindsey A Hudgins; David A Leske; Jonathan M Holmes
In: Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, vol. 61, no. 11, pp. 1–6, 2020.
Purpose: To evaluate associations between eye-related quality of life (ER-QOL) assessed by the Child Pediatric Eye Questionnaire (Child PedEyeQ) and functional measures (vision, visuomotor function, self-perception) in children with strabismus, anisometropia, or both. Our hypothesis was that children with functional deficits would have lower ER-QOL, and if so, these associations would support the convergent construct validity of the Child PedEyeQ. Methods: We evaluated 114 children (ages 5-11 years) with strabismus, anisometropia, or both. Each child completed the Child PedEyeQ to assess four Rasch-scored domains of ER-QOL: Functional Vision, Bothered by Eyes/Vision, Social, and Frustration/Worry. In addition, children completed one or more functional tests: visual acuity (n = 114), Randot Preschool Stereoacuity (n = 92), contrast balance index (suppression; n = 91), Readalyzer reading (n = 44), vergence instability (n = 50), Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 manual dexterity (n = 57), and Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children (n = 44). Results: Child PedEyeQ Functional Vision domain scores were correlated with self-perception of physical competence (rs = 0.65; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35-0.96) and reading speed (rs = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.16-0.77). Bothered by Eyes/Vision domain scores were correlated with self-perception of physical competence (rs = 0.52; 95% CI, 0.21-0.83). Moderate correlations were observed between Social domain scores and vergence instability (rs = -0.46; 95% CI, -0.76 to -0.15) and self-perception of physical competence (rs = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.12-0.73) and peer acceptance (rs = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.18-0.80). Frustration/Worry domain scores were moderately correlated with self-perception of physical competence (rs = 0.41; 95% CI, 0.10-0.71) and peer acceptance (rs = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.16-0.77). Conclusions: Strong and moderate correlations were observed between functional measures and Child PedEyeQ domain scores. These associations provide supporting evidence that the Child PedEyeQ has convergent construct validity.
James Blundella; Steven Frissona; Anupam Chakrapani; Paul Gissenc; Chris Hendriksz; Suresh Vijay; Andrew Olson
Oculomotor abnormalities in children with Niemann-Pick type C Journal Article
In: Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, vol. 123, no. 2, pp. 159–168, 2018.
Niemann-Pick type C (NP-C) is a rare recessive disorder associated with progressive supranuclear gaze palsy. Degeneration occurs initially for vertical saccades and later for horizontal saccades. There are studies of oculo- motor degeneration in adult NP-C patients [1, 2] but no comparable studies in children. We used high-resolution video-based eye tracking to record monocular vertical and horizontal eye movements in 2 neurological NP-C pa- tients (children with clinically observable oculomotor abnormalities) and 3 pre-neurological NP-C patients (children without clinically observable oculomotor abnormalities). Saccade onset latency, saccade peak velocity and saccade curvature were compared to healthy controls (N= 77). NP-C patients had selective impairments of vertical sac- cade peak velocity and vertical saccade curvature, with slower peak velocities and greater curvature. Changes were more pronounced in neurological than pre-neurological patients, showing that these measures are sensitive to disease progress, but abnormal curvature and slowed downward saccades were present in both groups, showing that eye- tracking can register disease-related changes before these are evident in a clinical exam. Both slowing, curvature and the detailed characteristics of the curvature we observed are predicted by the detailed characteristics of RIMLF population codes. Onset latencies were not different from healthy controls. High-resolution video-based eye tracking is a promising sensitive and objective method to measure NP-C disease severity and neurological onset. It may also help evaluate responses to therapeutic interventions.
Hazel I Blythe; Tuomo Häikiö; Raymond Bertam; Simon P Liversedge; Jukka Hyönä
Reading disappearing text: Why do children refixate words? Journal Article
In: Vision Research, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 84–92, 2011.
We compared Finnish adults' and children's eye movements on long (8-letter) and short (4-letter) target words embedded in sentences, presented either normally or as disappearing text. When reading disappearing text, where refixations did not provide new information, the 8- to 9-year-old children made fewer refixations but more regressions back to long words compared to when reading normal text. This difference was not observed in the adults or 10- to 11-year-old children. We conclude that the younger children required a second visual sample on the long words, and they adapted their eye movement behaviour when reading disappearing text accordingly.
Hazel I Blythe; Feifei Liang; Chuanli Zang; Jingxin Wang; Guoli Yan; Xuejun Bai; Simon P Liversedge
In: Journal of Memory and Language, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 241–254, 2012.
We examined whether inserting spaces between words in Chinese text would help children learn to read new vocabulary. We recorded adults' and 7- to 10-year-old children's eye movements as they read new 2-character words, each embedded in four explanatory sentences (the learning session). Participants were divided into learning subgroups - half read word spaced sentences, and half read unspaced sentences. In the test session participants read the new words again, each in one new sentence; here, all participants read unspaced text. In the learning session, participants in the spaced group read the new words more quickly than participants in the unspaced group. Further, children in the spaced group maintained this benefit in the test session (unspaced text). In relation to three different models of Chinese lexical identification, we argue that the spacing manipulation allowed the children to form either stronger connections between the two characters' representations and the corresponding, novel word representation, or to form a more fully specified representation of the word itself.
Hazel I Blythe; Ascensión Pagán; Megan Dodd
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 1244–1252, 2015.
In this experiment, the extent to which beginning readers process phonology during lexical identification in silent sentence reading was investigated. The eye movements of children aged seven to nine years and adults were recorded as they read sentences containing either a correctly spelled target word (e.g., girl), a pseudohomophone (e.g., gerl), or a spelling control (e.g., garl). Both children and adults showed a benefit from the valid phonology of the pseudohomophone, compared to the spelling control during reading. This indicates that children as young as seven years old exhibit relatively skilled phonological processing during reading, despite having moved past the use of overt phonological decoding strategies. In addition, in comparison to adults, children's lexical processing was more disrupted by the presence of spelling errors, suggesting a developmental change in the relative dependence upon phonological and orthographic processing in lexical identification during silent sentence reading.
Agnieszka Bojko; Arthur F Kramer; Matthew S Peterson
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 226–234, 2004.
This study examined age differences in task switching using prosaccade and antisaccade tasks. Significant specific and general switch costs were found for both young and old adults, suggesting the existence of 2 types of processes: those responsible for activation of the currently relevant task set and deactivation of the previously relevant task set and those responsible for maintaining more than 1 task active in working memory. Contrary to the findings of previous research, which used manual response tasks with arbitrary stimulus-response mappings to study task-switching performance, no age-related deficits in either type of switch costs were found. These data suggest age-related sparing of task-switching processes in situations in which memory load is low and stimulus-response mappings are well learned.
Jantina Bolhuis; Thorsten Kolling; Monika Knopf
In: International Journal of Behavioral Development, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 243–252, 2016.
Studies showed that individual differences in encoding speed as well as looking behaviour during the encoding of facial stimuli can relate to differences in subsequent face discrimination. Nevertheless, a direct linkage between encoding speed and looking behaviour during the encoding of facial stimuli and the role of these encoding characteristics for subsequent discrimination has not been investigated yet. In the present habituation study, an eye-tracker was used to investigate how individual differences in encoding speed (number of habituation trials) relate to individual differences in looking behaviour on faces and the internal facial features (eyes, nose, and mouth) during encoding as well as discrimination. Forty infants habituated to a photograph of a female face. In a subsequent dishabituation phase, a new face was followed by the familiar one. As expected, the results showed that most of the infants were able to habituate to the face and that they managed to discriminate between the new and the familiar face. Furthermore, correlations and analyses of variance showed that individual differences in encoding during habituation related to differences in looking behaviour during habituation as well as dishabituation. Slower-habituating infants could better discriminate between the new and the familiar face and showed a higher interest in the eyes during habi-tuation as well as dishabituation than faster-habituating infants. These data underline that individual differences in encoding speed relate to individual differences in looking behaviour and that increased looking behaviour to important social cues might help subsequent discrimination.
Carolina Bonmassar; Andreas Widmann; Nicole Wetzel
In: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 42, pp. 1–13, 2020.
Focusing on relevant and ignoring irrelevant information is essential for many learning processes. The present study investigated attention-related brain activity and pupil dilation responses, evoked by task-irrelevant emotional novel sounds. In the framework of current theories about the relation between attention and the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system, we simultaneously registered event-related potentials (ERPs) in the EEG and changes in pupil diameter (PDR). Unexpected emotional negative and neutral environmental novel sounds were presented within a sequence of repeated standard sounds to 7–10-year-old children and to adults, while participants focused on a visual task. Novel sounds evoked distinctive ERP components, reflecting attention processes and a biphasic PDR in both age groups. Amplitudes of the novel-minus-standard ERPs were increased in children compared to adults, indicating immature neuronal basis of auditory attention in middle childhood. Emotional versus neutral novel sounds evoked increased responses in the ERPs and in the PDR in both age groups. This demonstrates the increased impact of emotional sounds on attention mechanisms and indicates an advanced level of emotional information processing in children. The similar pattern of novel-related PDR and ERPs is conforming to recent theories, emphasizing the role of the LC-NE system in attention processes adding a developmental perspective.
Arielle Borovsky; Sarah C Creel
In: Developmental Psychology, vol. 50, no. 5, pp. 1600–1613, 2014.
Children seem able to efficiently interpret a variety of linguistic cues during speech comprehension, yet have difficulty interpreting sources of nonlinguistic and paralinguistic information that accompany speech. The current study asked whether (paralinguistic) voice-activated role knowledge is rapidly interpreted in coordination with a linguistic cue (a sentential action) during speech comprehension in an eye-tracked sentence comprehension task with children (ages 3-10 years) and college-aged adults. Participants were initially familiarized with 2 talkers who identified their respective roles (e.g., PRINCESS and PIRATE) before hearing a previously introduced talker name an action and object ("I want to hold the sword," in the pirate's voice). As the sentence was spoken, eye movements were recorded to 4 objects that varied in relationship to the sentential talker and action (target: SWORD, talker-related: SHIP, action-related: WAND, and unrelated: CARRIAGE). The task was to select the named image. Even young child listeners rapidly combined inferences about talker identity with the action, allowing them to fixate on the target before it was mentioned, although there were developmental and vocabulary differences on this task. Results suggest that children, like adults, store real-world knowledge of a talker's role and actively use this information to interpret speech.
Arielle Borovsky; Kim Sweeney; Jeffrey L Elman; Anne Fernald
Real-time interpretation of novel events across childhood Journal Article
In: Journal of Memory and Language, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 1–14, 2014.
Despite extensive evidence that adults and children rapidly integrate world knowledge to generate expectancies for upcoming language, little work has explored how this knowledge is initially acquired and used. We explore this question in 3- to 10-year-old children and adults by measuring the degree to which sentences depicting recently learned connections between agents, actions and objects lead to anticipatory eye-movements to the objects. Combinatory information in sentences about agent and action elicited anticipatory eye-movements to the Target object in adults and older children. Our findings suggest that adults and school-aged children can quickly activate information about recently exposed novel event relationships in real-time language processing. However, there were important developmental differences in the use of this knowledge. Adults and school-aged children used the sentential agent and action to predict the sentence final theme, while preschool children's fixations reflected a simple association to the currently spoken item. We consider several reasons for this developmental difference and possible extensions of this paradigm.
Arielle Borovsky; Erica M Ellis; Julia L Evans; Jeffrey L Elman
In: Developmental Science, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 918–932, 2016.
Recent research suggests that infants tend to add words to their vocabulary that are semantically related to other known words, though it is not clear why this pattern emerges. In this paper, we explore whether infants leverage their existing vocabulary and semantic knowledge when interpreting novel label-object mappings in real time. We initially identified categorical domains for which individual 24-month-old infants have relatively higher and lower levels of knowledge, irrespective of overall vocabulary size. Next, we taught infants novel words in these higher and lower knowledge domains and then asked if their subsequent real-time recognition of these items varied as a function of their category knowledge. While our participants successfully acquired the novel label-object mappings in our task, there were important differences in the way infants recognized these words in real time. Namely, infants showed more robust recognition of high (vs. low) domain knowledge words. These findings suggest that dense semantic structure facilitates early word learning and real-time novel word recognition.
Arielle Borovsky; Erica M Ellis; Julia L Evans; Jeffrey L Elman
In: Child Development, vol. 87, no. 6, pp. 1893–1908, 2016.
Although the size of a child's vocabulary associates with language-processing skills, little is understoodregarding how this relation emerges. This investigation asks whether and how the structure of vocabularyknowledge affects language processing in English-learning 24-month-old children (N = 32; 18 F, 14 M). Paren-tal vocabulary report was used to calculate semantic density in several early-acquired semantic categories.Performance on two language-processing tasks (lexical recognition and sentence processing) was compared asa function of semantic density. In both tasks, real-time comprehension was facilitated for higher density items,whereas lower density items experienced more interference. The ﬁndings indicate that language-processingskills develop heterogeneously and are inﬂuenced by the semantic network surrounding a known word.
Arielle Borovsky; Ryan E Peters
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 7, pp. e0219290, 2019.
The mature lexicon encodes semantic relations between words, and these connections can alternately facilitate and interfere with language processing. We explore the emergence of these processing dynamics in 18-month-olds (N = 79) using a novel approach that calculates individualized semantic structure at multiple granularities in participants' productive vocabularies. Participants completed two interleaved eye-tracked word recognition tasks involving semantically unrelated and related picture contexts, which sought to measure the impact of lexical facilitation and interference on processing, respectively. Semantic structure and vocabulary size differentially impacted processing in each task. Category level structure facilitated word recognition in 18-month-olds with smaller productive vocabularies, while overall lexical connectivity interfered with word recognition for toddlers with relatively larger vocabularies. The results suggest that, while semantic structure at multiple granularities is measurable even in small lexicons, mechanisms of semantic interference and facilitation are driven by the development of structure at different granularities. We consider these findings in light of accounts of adult word recognition that posits that different levels of structure index strong and weak activation from nearby and distant semantic neighbors. We also consider further directions for developmental change in these patterns.
In: Developmental Science, vol. 23, pp. 1–15, 2020.
This project explores how children disambiguate and retain novel object-label mappings in the face of semantic similarity. Burgeoning evidence suggests that semantic structure in the developing lexicon promotes word learning in ostensive contexts, whereas other findings indicate that semantic similarity interferes with and temporarily slows familiar word recognition. This project explores how these distinct processes interact when mapping and retaining labels for novel objects (i.e., low-frequency objects that are unfamiliar to toddlers) via disambiguation from a semantically similar familiar referent in 24-month-olds (N = 65). Toddlers' log-adjusted looking to labeled target objects (relative to distractor objects) was measured in three conditions: Familiar trials (familiar label spoken while viewing semantically related familiar and novel objects), Disambiguation trials (unfamiliar label spoken while viewing semantically similar familiar and unfamiliar object), and Retention trials (unfamiliar label spoken while viewing novel object pairs). Toddlers' individual vocabulary structure was then compared to performance on each condition. Vocabulary structure was measured at two levels: category-level structure (semantic density) for experimental items, and lexicon-level structure (global clustering coefficient). The findings suggest, consistent with prior results, that semantic density interfered with known word recognition, and facilitated unfamiliar word retention. Children did not show a significant novel word preference during disambiguation, and disambiguation behavior was not impacted by semantic structure. These findings connect seemingly disparate mechanisms of semantic interference in processing and semantic leveraging in word learning. Semantic interference momentarily slows word recognition and resolution of referential uncertainty for novel label-object mappings. Nevertheless, this slowing might support retention by enabling comparison between related objects.
Evelyn Bosma; Naomi Nota
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 189, pp. 1–18, 2020.
Bilingual adults are faster in reading cognates than in reading non-cognates in both their first language (L1) and second language (L2). This cognate effect has been shown to be gradual: recognition was facilitated when words had higher degrees of cross-linguistic similarity. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether cognate facilitation can also be observed in bilingual children's sentence reading. To answer this question, a group of Frisian–Dutch bilingual children (N = 37) aged 9–12 years completed a reading task in both their languages. All children had Dutch as their dominant reading language, but most of them spoke mainly Frisian at home. Identical cognates (e.g., Dutch–Frisian boek–boek ‘book'), non-identical cognates (e.g., beam–boom ‘tree'), and non-cognates (e.g., beppe–oma ‘grandmother') were presented in sentence context, and eye movements were recorded. The results showed a non-gradual cognate facilitation effect in Frisian: identical cognates were read faster than non-identical cognates and non-cognates. In Dutch, no cognate facilitation effect could be observed. This suggests that bilingual children use their dominant reading language while reading in their non-dominant one, but not vice versa.
Marie Line Bosse; Sonia Kandel; Chloé Prado; Sylviane Valdois
This research investigated whether text reading and copying involve visual attention-processing skills. Children in grades 3 and 5 read and copied the same text. We measured eye movements while reading and the number of gaze lifts (GL) during copying. The children were also administered letter report tasks that constitute an estimation of the number of letters that are processed simultaneously. The tasks were designed to assess visual attention span abilities (VA). The results for both grades revealed that the children who reported more letters, i.e., processed more consonants in parallel, produced fewer rightward fixations during text reading suggesting they could process more letters at each fixation. They also copied more letters per gaze lift from the same text. Furthermore, a regression analysis showed that VA span predicted variations in copying independently of the influence of reading skills. The findings support a role of VA span abilities in the early extraction of orthographic information, for both reading and copying tasks.
Alison C Bowling; Peter Lindsay; Belinda G Smith; Kerri Storok
In: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 201–219, 2015.
Older adults appear to have greater difficulty ignoring distractions during day-to-day activities than younger adults. To assess these effects of age, the ability of adults aged between 50 and 80 years to ignore distracting stimuli was measured using the antisaccade and oculomotor capture tasks. In the antisaccade task, observers are instructed to look away from a visual cue, whereas in the oculomotor capture task, observers are instructed to look toward a colored singleton in the presence of a concurrent onset distractor. Index scores of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) were compared with capture errors, and with prosaccade errors on the antisaccade task. A higher percentage of capture errors were made on the oculomotor capture tasks by the older members of the cohort compared to the younger members. There was a weak relationship between the attention index and capture errors, but the visuospatial/constructional index was the strongest predictor of prosaccade error rate in the antisaccade task. The saccade reaction times (SRTs) of correct initial saccades in the oculomotor capture task were poorly correlated with age, and with the neurospsychological tests, but prosaccade SRTs in both tasks moderately correlated with antisaccade error rate. These results were interpreted in terms of a competitive integration (or race) model. Any variable that reduces the strength of the top-down neural signal to produce a voluntary saccade, or that increases saccade speed, will enhance the likelihood that a reflexive saccade to a stimulus with an abrupt onset will occur.
John Brand; Travis D Masterson; Jennifer A Emond; Reina Lansigan; Diane Gilbert-Diamond
In: Appetite, vol. 148, pp. 1–7, 2020.
Objective: Attentional bias to food cues may be a risk factor for childhood obesity, yet there are few paradigms to measure such biases in young children. Therefore, the present work introduces an eye-tracking visual search task to measure attentional bias in young children. Methods: Fifty-one 3-6-year-olds played a game to find a target cartoon character among food (experimental condition) or toy (control condition) distractors. Children completed the experimental and toy conditions on two separate visits in randomized order. Behavioral (response latencies) and eye-tracking measures (time to first fixation, initial gaze duration duration, cumulative gaze duration ) of attention to food and toy cues were computed. Regressions were used to test for attentional bias to food versus toy cues, and whether attentional bias to food cues was related to current BMI z-score. Results: Children spent more cumulative time looking at food versus toy distractors and took longer to locate the target when searching through food versus toy distractors. The faster children fixated on their first food versus toy distractor was associated with higher BMI z-scores. Conclusions: Using a game-based paradigm employing eyetracking, we found a behavioral attentional bias to food vs. toy distractors in young children. Further, attentional bias to food cues was associated with current BMI z-score.
Valentina S Bratash; Elena I Riekhakaynen; Tatiana E Petrova
Сreating and processing sketchnotes: A psycholinguistic study Journal Article
In: Procedia Computer Science, vol. 176, pp. 2930–2939, 2020.
This paper presents the study of sketchnotes (visual notes containing a handwritten text and drawings) created by Russian school children. The study was aimed to reveal the subjective attitude of the children to the sketchnoting technique and to check whether the sketches are better than handwritten verbal summaries for retrieving and memorizing the information. In the first experiment, 139 participants aged from 14 to 17 years filled in a questionnaire aimed at figuring out their attitude to the sketchnoting. The results showed that the school children find this technique interesting and useful for memorizing and recalling the information, despite the fact that many of them report it to be time consuming. In the second experiment, we asked seven Russian speaking school children to retell two texts referring to the visual notes and text summary they had created themselves. The results of the experiment did not demonstrate the tendency for the sketchnotes to be processed faster and being more effective than the verbal text. We also described the patterns used by the school children while reading the sketchnotes and showed that they pay special attention to such elements of the sketchnotes as the title, highlighted elements and portraits.
Jasmin Breitwieser; Garvin Brod
In: Child Development, pp. 1–15, 2020.
This study examined age-related differences in the effectiveness of two generative learning strategies (GLSs). Twenty-five children aged 9–11 and 25 university students aged 17–29 performed a facts learning task in which they had to generate either a prediction or an example before seeing the correct result. We found a significant Age × Learning Strategy interaction, with children remembering more facts after generating predictions rather than examples, whereas both strategies were similarly effective in adults. Pupillary data indicated that predictions stimulated surprise, whereas the effectiveness of example-based learning correlated with children's analogical reasoning abilities. These findings suggest that there are different cognitive prerequisites for different GLSs, which results in varying degrees of strategy effectiveness by age.
Garvin Brod; Jasmin Breitwieser; Marcus Hasselhorn; Silvia A Bunge
In: Developmental Science, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 1–14, 2020.
This study investigated whether prompting children to generate predictions about an outcome facilitates activation of prior knowledge and improves belief revision. 51 children aged 9–12 were tested on two experimental tasks in which generating a prediction was compared to closely matched control conditions, as well as on a test of executive functions (EF). In Experiment 1, we showed that children exhibited a pupillary surprise response to events that they had predicted incorrectly, hypothesized to reflect the transient release of noradrenaline in response to cognitive conflict. However, children's surprise response was not associated with better belief revision, in contrast to a previous study involving adults. Experiment 2 revealed that, while generating predictions helped children activate their prior knowledge, only those with better inhibitory control skills learned from incorrectly predicted outcomes. Together, these results suggest that good inhibitory control skills are needed for learning through cognitive conflict. Thus, generating predictions benefits learning – but only among children with sufficient EF capacities to harness surprise for revising their beliefs.
Paul M Brunet; Jennifer J Heisz; Catherine J Mondloch; David I Shore; Louis A Schmidt
Shyness and face scanning in children Journal Article
In: Journal of Anxiety Disorders, vol. 23, no. 7, pp. 909–914, 2009.
Contrary to popular beliefs, a recent empirical study using eye tracking has shown that a non-clinical sample of socially anxious adults did not avoid the eyes during face scanning. Using eye-tracking measures, we sought to extend these findings by examining the relation between stable shyness and face scanning patterns in a non-clinical sample of 11-year-old children. We found that shyness was associated with longer dwell time to the eye region than the mouth, suggesting that some shy children were not avoiding the eyes. Shyness was also correlated with fewer first fixations to the nose, which is thought to reflect the typical global strategy of face processing. Present results replicate and extend recent work on social anxiety and face scanning in adults to shyness in children. These preliminary findings also provide support for the notion that some shy children may be hypersensitive to detecting social cues and intentions in others conveyed by the eyes. Theoretical and practical implications for understanding the social cognitive correlates and treatment of shyness are discussed.
Rudolf Burggraaf; Josef N van der Geest; Maarten A Frens; Ignace T C Hooge
Visual search accelerates during adolescence Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 1–11, 2018.
We studied changes in visual-search performance and behavior during adolescence. Search performance was analyzed in terms of reaction time and response accuracy. Search behavior was analyzed in terms of the objects fixated and the duration of these fixations. A large group of adolescents (N ¼ 140; age: 12-19 years; 47% female, 53% male) participated in a visual-search experiment in which their eye movements were recorded with an eye tracker. The experiment consisted of 144 trials (50% with a target present), and participants had to decide whether a target was present. Each trial showed a search display with 36 Gabor patches placed on a hexagonal grid. The target was a vertically oriented element with a high spatial frequency. Nontargets differed from the target in spatial frequency, orientation, or both. Search performance and behavior changed during adolescence; with increasing age, fixation duration and reaction time decreased. Response accuracy, number of fixations, and selection of elements to fixate upon did not change with age. Thus, the speed of foveal discrimination increases with age, while the efficiency of peripheral selection does not change. We conclude that the way visual information is gathered does not change during adolescence, but the processing of visual information becomes faster.
Rudolf Burggraaf; Jos N van der Geest; Ignace T C Hooge; Maarten A Frens
In: Applied Neuropsychology: Child, pp. 1–11, 2019.
Using a longitudinal study design, a group of 94 adolescents participated in a visual search task and a visuospatial ability task yearly for four consecutive years. We analyzed the association between changes in visuospatial ability and changes in visual search performance and behavior and estimated additional effects of age and task repetition. Visuospatial ability was measured with the Design Organization Test (DOT). Search performance was analyzed in terms of reaction time and response accuracy. Search behavior was analyzed in terms of the number of fixations per trial, the saccade amplitude, and the distribution of fixations over different types of elements. We found that both the increase in age and the yearly repetition of the DOT had a positive effect on visuospatial ability. We show that the acceleration of visual search during childhood can be explained by the increase in visuospatial abilities with age during adolescence. With the yearly task repetition, visual search became faster and more accurate, while fewer fixations were made with larger saccade amplitudes. The combination of increasing visuospatial ability and task repetition makes visual search more effective and might increase the performance of many daily tasks during adolescence.
Melanie R Burke; Charlotte Poyser; Ingo Schiessl
In: Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, vol. 70, no. 5, pp. 682–690, 2015.
Objectives. Healthy aging is associated with a decline in visuospatial working memory. The nature of the changes leading to this decline in response of the eye and/or hand is still under debate. This study aims to establish whether impairments observed in performance on cognitive tasks are due to actual cognitive effects or are caused by motor-related eye–hand coordination. Methods. We implemented a computerized version of the Corsi span task. The eye and touch responses of healthy young and older adults were recorded to a series of remembered targets on a screen. Results. Results revealed differences in fixation strategies between the young and the old with increasing cognitive demand, which resulted in higher error rates in the older group. We observed increasing reaction times and durations between fixations and touches to targets, with increasing memory load and delays in both the eye and the hand in the older adults. Discussion. Our results show that older adults have difficulty maintaining a " preparatory set " for durations longer than 5 s and with increases in memory load. Attentional differences cannot account for our results, and differences in age groups appear to be principally memory related. Older adults reveal poorer eye–hand coordination, which is further confounded by increasing delay and complexity.
Sarah E Burke; Immanuel Babu Henry Samuel; Qing Zhao; Jackson Cagle; Ronald A Cohen; Benzi Kluger; Mingzhou Ding
In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, vol. 10, pp. 1–7, 2018.
Cognitive fatigue and cognitive fatigability are distinct constructs. Cognitive fatigue reflects perception of cognitive fatigue outside of the context of activity level and duration and can be reliably assessed via established instruments such as the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS). In contrast, cognitive fatigability reflects change in fatigue levels quantified within the context of the level and duration of cognitive activity, and currently there are no reliable measures of cognitive fatigability. A recently published scale, the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale (PFS), attempts to remedy this problem with a focus on the aged population. While the physical fatigability subscore of PFS has been validated using physical activity derived measures, the mental fatigability subscore of PFS remains to be tested against equivalent measures derived from cognitive activities. To this end, we recruited 35 older, healthy adult participants (mean age 73.77 ± 5.9) to complete the PFS as well as a prolonged continuous performance of a Stroop task (textgreater2 h). Task-based assessments included time-on-task changes in self-reported fatigue scores (every 20 min), reaction time, and pupil diameter. Defining subjective fatigability, behavioral fatigability, and physiologic/autonomic fatigability to be the slope of change over time-on-task in the above three assessed variables, we found that the PFS mental subscore was not correlated with any of the three task-based fatigability measures. Instead, the PFS mental subscore was correlated with trait level fatigue measures FSS ($rho$ = 0.63, p textless 0.001), and MFIS cognitive subsection ($rho$ = 0.36
David Buttelmann; Andy Schieler; Nicole Wetzel; Andreas Widmann
In: Infant Behavior and Development, vol. 47, pp. 103–111, 2017.
When observing a novel action, infants pay attention to the model's constraints when deciding whether to imitate this action or not. Gergely et al. (2002) found that more 14-month-olds copied a model's use of her head to operate a lamp when she used her head while her hands were free than when she had to use this means because it was the only means available to her (i.e., her hands were occupied). The perceptional distraction account (Beisert et al., 2012) claims that differences between conditions in terms of the amount of attention infants paid to the modeled action caused the differences in infants' performance between conditions. In order to investigate this assumption we presented 14-month-olds (N = 34) with an eye-tracking paradigm and analyzed their looking behavior when observing the head-touch demonstration in the two original conditions. Subsequently, they had the chance to operate the apparatus themselves, and we measured their imitative responses. In order to explore the perceptional processes taking place in this paradigm in adulthood, we also presented adults (N = 31) with the same task. Apart from the fact that we did not replicate the findings in imitation with our participants, the eye-tracking results do not support the perceptional distraction account: infants did not statistically differ − not even tendentially − in their amount of looking at the modeled action in both conditions. Adults also did not statistically differ in their looking at the relevant action components. However, both groups predominantly observed the relevant head action. Consequently, infants and adults do not seem to attend differently to constrained and unconstrained modelled actions.
Laura Cacciamani; Erica Wager; Mary A Peterson; Paige E Scalf
In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, vol. 9, pp. 1–15, 2017.
The perirhinal cortex (PRC) is a medial temporal lobe (MTL) structure known to be involved in assessing whether an object is familiar (i.e., meaningful) or novel. Recent evidence shows that the PRC is sensitive to the familiarity of both whole object configurations and their parts, and suggests the PRC may modulate part familiarity responses in V2. Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated age-related decline in the PRC's sensitivity to part/configuration familiarity and assessed its functional connectivity to visual cortex in young and older adults. Participants categorized peripherally presented silhouettes as familiar ("real-world") or novel. Part/configuration familiarity was manipulated via three silhouette configurations: Familiar (parts/configurations familiar), Control Novel (parts/configurations novel), and Part-Rearranged Novel (parts familiar, configurations novel). "Real-world" judgments were less accurate than "novel" judgments, although accuracy did not differ between age groups. The fMRI data revealed differential neural activity, however: In young adults, a linear pattern of activation was observed in left hemisphere (LH) PRC, with Familiar textgreater Control Novel textgreater Part-Rearranged Novel. Older adults did not show this pattern, indicating age-related decline in the PRC's sensitivity to part/configuration familiarity. A functional connectivity analysis revealed a significant coupling between the PRC and V2 in the LH in young adults only. Older adults showed a linear pattern of activation in the temporopolar cortex (TPC), but no evidence of TPC-V2 connectivity. This is the first study to demonstrate age-related decline in the PRC's representations of part/configuration familiarity and its covariance with visual cortex.
Karen L Campbell; Naseem Al-Aidroos; Jay Pratt; Lynn Hasher
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 163–168, 2009.
In the present study, the authors examined age-related differences in saccade curvature as older and younger adults looked to an X target that appeared concurrently with an O distractor. They used a fixation gap procedure to introduce variance into the saccadic latencies of both groups. Consistent with earlier findings, younger adults' early onset saccades curved toward the distractor (as the distractor competed with the target for response selection), while late-onset saccades curved away from the distractor (as the distractor location became inhibited over time). In contrast, older adults' saccades gradually decreased in curvature toward the distractor, but at no point along the latency continuum did they show deviations away. These results suggest that while the local inhibitory mechanisms responsible for decreases in curvature toward distractors may be preserved with age, aging may lead to a selective decline in the frontal inhibitory mechanisms responsible for deviations away from distractors.
Karen L Campbell; Jennifer D Ryan
In: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 745–763, 2009.
The present study examined whether external support and practice could reduce age differences in oculomotor control. Participants were to avoid fixating an abrupt onset and on some trials, were provided with a predictive cue regarding the onset location or identity. Older adults demonstrated more capture than younger adults, but both groups improved with practice. Whereas the older group benefited from a location preview (Experiment 1), neither group showed less capture when given a preview of the onset object itself (Experiment 2), suggesting that location-based inhibition, but not object-based inhibition, was sufficient to support oculomotor control within this paradigm. To test the generalizability of these skills, displays in a final block were manipulated such that the onset could appear in a different location or be a different object altogether. Viewing patterns were similar for changed vs. unchanged displays, suggesting that participants' practice-related gains could withstand a change in the task materials.
Karen L Campbell; Naseem Al-Aidroos; Robert Fatt; Jay Pratt; Lynn Hasher
In: Experimental Brain Research, vol. 201, no. 3, pp. 385–392, 2010.
The present study had two aims. First, to determine if bimodal audio-visual targets allow for greater inhibition of visual distractors, which in turn may lead to greater saccadic trajectory deviations away from those distractors. Second, to determine if bimodal targets can reduce age differences in the ability to generate deviations away, as older adults tend to benefit more from multisensory integration than younger adults. The results show that bimodal targets produced larger deviations away than unimodal targets, but only when the distractor preceded the target, and this effect was comparable across age groups. Furthermore, in contrast to previous research, older adults in this study showed similar deviations away from distractors to those of younger adults. These findings suggest that age differences in the production of trajectory deviations away are not inevitable and that multisensory integration may be an important means for increasing top-down inhibition of irrelevant distraction.
Linda E Campbell; Kathryn L McCabe; Kate Leadbeater; Ulrich Schall; Carmel M Loughland; Dominique Rich
In: Psychiatry Research, vol. 177, no. 1-2, pp. 211–215, 2010.
Previous research demonstrates that people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) have social and interpersonal skill deficits. However, the basis of this deficit is unknown. This study examined, for the first time, how people with 22q11DS process emotional face stimuli using visual scanpath technology. The visual scanpaths of 17 adolescents and age/gender matched healthy controls were recorded while they viewed face images depicting one of seven basic emotions (happy, sad, surprised, angry, fear, disgust and neutral). Recognition accuracy was measured concurrently. People with 22q11DS differed significantly from controls, displaying visual scanpath patterns that were characterised by fewer fixations and a shorter scanpath length. The 22q11DS group also spent significantly more time gazing at the mouth region and significantly less time looking at eye regions of the faces. Recognition accuracy was correspondingly impaired, with 22q11DS subjects displaying particular deficits for fear and disgust. These findings suggest that 22q11DS is associated with a maladaptive visual information processing strategy that may underlie affect recognition accuracy and social functioning deficits in this group.
Maria Nella Carminati; Pia Knoeferle
In: The Open Psychology Journal, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 129–148, 2016.
Background: Prior visual-world research has demonstrated that emotional priming of spoken sentence processing is rapidly modulated by age. Older and younger participants saw two photographs of a positive and of a negative event side-by-side and listened to a spoken sentence about one of these events. Older adults' fixations to the mentioned (positive) event were enhanced when the still photograph of a previously-inspected positive-valence speaker face was (vs. wasn't) emotionally congruent with the event/sentence. By contrast, the younger adults exhibited such an enhancement with negative stimuli only. Objective: The first aim of the current study was to assess the replicability of these findings with dynamic face stimuli (unfolding from neutral to happy or sad). A second goal was to assess a key prediction made by socio-emotional selectivity theory, viz. that the positivity effect (a preference for positive information) displayed by older adults involves cognitive effort. Method: We conducted an eye-tracking visual-world experiment. Results: Most priming and age effects, including the positivity effects, replicated. However, against our expectations, the positive gaze preference in older adults did not co-vary with a standard measure of cognitive effort - increased pupil dilation. Instead, pupil size was significantly bigger when (both younger and older) adults processed negative than positive stimuli. Conclusion: These findings are in line with previous research on the relationship between positive gaze preferences and pupil dilation. We discuss both theoretical and methodological implications of these results.
Alex de Carvalho; Isabelle Dautriche; Anne Christophe
In: Developmental Science, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 235–250, 2016.
Two experiments were conducted to investigate whether young children are able to take into account phrasal prosody when computing the syntactic structure of a sentence. Pairs of French noun/verb homophones were selected to create locally ambiguous sentences ([la petite ferme] [est tr? es jolie] ‘the small farm is very nice' vs. [la petite] [ferme la fen^ etre] ‘the little girl closes the window' – brackets indicate prosodic boundaries). Although these sentences start with the same three words, ferme is a noun (farm) in the former but a verb (to close) in the latter case. The only difference between these sentence beginnings is the prosodic structure, that reflects the syntactic structure (with a prosodic boundary just before the criticalwordwhen it is a verb, and just after it when it is a noun). Crucially, all words following the homophone were masked, such that prosodic cues were the only disambiguating information. Children successfully exploited prosodic information to assign the appropriate syntactic category to the target word, in both an oral completion task (4.5-year-olds, Experiment 1) and in a preferential looking paradigm with an eye- tracker (3.5-year-olds and 4.5-year-olds, Experiment 2). These results show that both groups of children exploit the position of a word within the prosodic structure when computing its syntactic category. In other words, even younger children of 3.5 years old exploit phrasal prosody online to constrain their syntactic analysis. This ability to exploit phrasal prosody to compute syntactic structure may help children parse sentences containing unknown words, and facilitate the acquisition of word meanings.
Alex de Carvalho; Isabelle Dautriche; Isabelle Lin; Anne Christophe
Phrasal prosody constrains syntactic analysis in toddlers Journal Article
In: Cognition, vol. 163, pp. 67–79, 2017.
This study examined whether phrasal prosody can impact toddlers' syntactic analysis. French noun-verb homophones were used to create locally ambiguous test sentences (e.g., using the homophone as a noun: [le bébé souris] [a bien mangé] - [the baby mouse] [ate well] or using it as a verb: [le bébé] [sourit à sa maman] - [the baby] [smiles to his mother], where brackets indicate prosodic phrase boundaries). Although both sentences start with the same words (le-bebe-/suʁi/), they can be disambiguated by the prosodic boundary that either directly precedes the critical word /suʁi/ when it is a verb, or directly follows it when it is a noun. Across two experiments using an intermodal preferential looking procedure, 28-month-olds (Exp. 1 and 2) and 20-month-olds (Exp. 2) listened to the beginnings of these test sentences while watching two images displayed side-by-side on a TV-screen: one associated with the noun interpretation of the ambiguous word (e.g., a mouse) and the other with the verb interpretation (e.g., a baby smiling). The results show that upon hearing the first words of these sentences, toddlers were able to correctly exploit prosodic information to access the syntactic structure of sentences, which in turn helped them to determine the syntactic category of the ambiguous word and to correctly identify its intended meaning: participants switched their eye-gaze toward the correct image based on the prosodic condition in which they heard the ambiguous target word. This provides evidence that during the first steps of language acquisition, toddlers are already able to exploit the prosodic structure of sentences to recover their syntactic structure and predict the syntactic category of upcoming words, an ability which would be extremely useful to discover the meaning of novel words.
Nicholas D Cassavaugh; Arthur F Kramer; David E Irwin
In: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 44–60, 2003.
We examined potential age-related differences in attentional and oculomotor capture by single and multiple abrupt onsets in a singleton search paradigm. 24 participants were instructed to move their eyes as quickly as possible to a color singleton target and to identify a small letter located inside it. Either single or dual onset task-irrelevant distractors were presented simultaneously with the color change that defined the target, or one onset distractor was presented prior to and another onset distractor was presented during the participant's initial eye movement away from fixation. Young and old adults misdirected their eyes to the single and dual onset task-irrelevant distractors, on an equivalent proportion of trials, relative to control trials. However, older adults' saccade latencies and RTs were influenced to a greater extent by onsets compared to younger adults'. These data are discussed in terms of age-related differences in attentional control and oculomotor capture.
Nicholas Cassavaugh; Arthur F Kramer; Matthew S Peterson
Aging and the strategic control of the fixation offset effect Journal Article
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 357–361, 2004.
A study was conducted to examine potential age-related differences in the strategic control of exogenous and endogenous saccades within the context of the fixation offset effect (FOE; i.e., faster saccades when a fixation point is removed than when it is left on throughout a trial). Subjects were instructed to make rapid saccades either on the basis of a suddenly appearing peripheral visual stimulus (exogenous saccade) or in response to a tone (endogenous saccade). On half of the trials the fixation point was removed simultaneously with the occurrence of the cue stimulus. Subjects' preparatory set was varied by manipulating the proportion of saccades generated to a visual and auditory stimulus within a trial block. Young and old adults both produced FOEs, and the FOEs were strategically modulated by preparatory set. The data are discussed in terms of aging and oculomotor control.
Sarah Chabal; Sayuri Hayakawa; Viorica Marian
In: Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 1–10, 2021.
Over the course of our lifetimes, we accumulate extensive experience associating the things that we see with the words we have learned to describe them. As a result, adults engaged in a visual search task will often look at items with labels that share phonological features with the target object, demonstrating that language can become activated even in non-linguistic contexts. This highly interactive cognitive system is the culmination of our linguistic and visual experiences—and yet, our understanding of how the relationship between language and vision develops remains limited. The present study explores the developmental trajectory of language-mediated visual search by examining whether children can be distracted by linguistic competitors during a non-linguistic visual search task. Though less robust compared to what has been previously observed with adults, we find evidence of phonological competition in children as young as 8 years old. Furthermore, the extent of language activation is predicted by individual differences in linguistic, visual, and domain-general cognitive abilities, with the greatest phonological competition observed among children with strong language abilities combined with weaker visual memory and inhibitory control. We propose that linguistic expertise is fundamental to the development of language-mediated visual search, but that the rate and degree of automatic language activation depends on interactions among a broader network of cognitive abilities.
Jessica P K Chan; Daphne Kamino; Malcolm A Binns; Jennifer D Ryan
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 2, pp. 1–11, 2011.
Older adults typically exhibit poorer face recognition compared to younger adults. These recognition differences may be due to underlying age-related changes in eye movement scanning. We examined whether older adults' recognition could be improved by yoking their eye movements to those of younger adults. Participants studied younger and older faces, under free viewing conditions (bases), through a gaze-contingent moving window (own), or a moving window which replayed the eye movements of a base participant (yoked). During the recognition test, participants freely viewed the faces with no viewing restrictions. Own-age recognition biases were observed for older adults in all viewing conditions, suggesting that this effect occurs independently of scanning. Participants in the bases condition had the highest recognition accuracy, and participants in the yoked condition were more accurate than participants in the own condition. Among yoked participants, recognition did not depend on age of the base participant. These results suggest that successful encoding for all participants requires the bottom-up contribution of peripheral information, regardless of the locus of control of the viewer. Although altering the pattern of eye movements did not increase recognition, the amount of sampling of the face during encoding predicted subsequent recognition accuracy for all participants. Increased sampling may confer some advantages for subsequent recognition, particularly for people who have declining memory abilities.
Cynthia Y H Chan; Antoni B Chan; Tatia M C Lee; Janet H Hsiao
In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 2200–2207, 2018.
The Hidden Markov Modeling approach for eye-movement data analysis is able to quantitatively assess differences and similarities among individual patterns. Here we applied this approach to examine the relationships between eye-movement patterns in face recognition and age-related cognitive decline. We found that significantly more older than young adults adopted "holistic" patterns, in which most eye fixations landed around the face center, as opposed to "analytic" patterns, in which eye movements switched among the two eyes and the face center. Participants showing analytic patterns had better performance than those with holistic patterns regardless ofage. Interestingly, older adults with lower cognitive status (as assessed by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment), particularly in executive and visual attention functioning (as assessed by Tower of London and Trail Making Tests) were associated with a higher likelihood of holistic patterns. This result suggests the possibility of using eye movements as an easily deployable screening assessment for cognitive decline in older adults.
Minglei Chen; Hwa Wei Ko
In: Journal of Research in Reading, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 232–246, 2011.
This study was to investigate Chinese children's eye patterns while reading different text genres from a developmental perspective. Eye movements were recorded while children in the second through sixth grades read two expository texts and two narrative texts. Across passages, overall word frequency was not significantly different between the two genres. Results showed that all children had longer fixation durations for low-frequency words. They also had longer fixation durations on content words. These results indicate that children adopted a word-based processing strategy like skilled readers do. However, only older children's rereading times were affected by genre. Overall, eye-movement patterns of older children reported in this study are in accordance with those of skilled Chinese readers, but younger children are more likely to be responsive to word characteristics than text level when reading a Chinese text.
Ming Lei Chen; Chia Hsing Chen
In: Journal of Research in Reading, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 180–200, 2020.
Background: Reading researchers have generally considered that reading is an interactive combination of top-down (higher-level language skill) and bottom-up (lower-level language skill) processes. Nevertheless, the mechanisms through which readers apply these skills for online text comprehension are unclear. Methods: The present study thus used eight classical Chinese (CC) texts and their corresponding vernacular translation (VT) texts for controlling the text structure and meaning to explore such mechanisms in high school students. Results: With partial-out to the influences of (a) students' language achievement scores, (b) word frequency and (c) word length, we observed no significant difference in comprehension accuracy between the CC and VT texts, and the CC texts involved a significantly lower reading speed than did the VT texts. Moreover, the first fixation duration, gaze duration, rereading time and total reading time for the CC texts were longer than those for the VT texts. For all events, CC text reading required a longer fixation duration and significantly longer rereading time and total reading time than did VT text reading. Further observations show that students comprehended CC texts by adjusting their lower- and higher-level language skills. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that even if CC texts contain a relatively high number of low-frequency words, as readers get more and more contextual information from the text, they can gradually apply higher-level reading skills to understand the meaning of the text, which can ease the dependence on word decoding. Highlights: What is already known about this topic Lower- and higher-level language skills—which reflect lexical access and higher order text integration, respectively—affect reading comprehension. Theory and research in reading comprehension have emphasised the interactive process of both language skills to lead to successfully understanding text. What this paper adds By using classical Chinese texts and their corresponding vernacular translations to control the meaning of texts, text event structures and the corresponding word sequence, we determined that high school students comprehended classical Chinese texts by adjusting their lower- and higher-level language skills. This study also revealed students' dynamical adjustment of lower- and higher-level language skills within construction and integration phases according to various events. Implications for theory, policy or practice This study demonstrated that word-based eye-movement measures can reflect the processing of lower- and higher-level components in online reading and can reveal the even construction and integration processes of construction–integration model theory. By thoroughly examining reading strategies for texts structured according to events, this study revealed how high school students can achieve a certain degree of comprehension of classical Chinese texts through the use of higher-level language skills.
Sheng Chang Chen; Hsiao Ching She
In: Journal of Science Education and Technology, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 547–560, 2020.
This study analyzed the impact of different analogical learning approaches (analogies or metaphors) integrated with different presentation modalities (pictures or texts) on middle school students' learning performance of electricity with supporting evidence from their eye movement behaviors. Eighty ninth-grade middle school students were randomly assigned into four groups to receive four different versions of an online electricity learning program, including pictorial analogies, textual analogies, pictorial metaphors, and textual metaphors. Data regarding students' eye movement behaviors were collected simultaneously during their online learning. All the students took a pre-test, post-test, and retention test covering their comprehension of electricity concepts. Our results revealed that the analogy group provided more mapping and integration behaviors between the analog and target concepts about electricity, resulting in gaining better performance than the metaphor group. Additionally, students receiving pictorial modality generated more mapping and integration behaviors between the analog and target concepts, resulting in a better understanding of electricity concepts than students learning with textual modality. The associated implications for analogical learning approaches and presentation modalities concerning science learning and eye movement behaviors are also discussed in the paper.
Nicolas Chevalier; Bruno Dauvier; Agnès Blaye
In: Developmental Science, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 1–8, 2018.
Emerging cognitive control supports increasingly adaptive behaviors and predicts life success, while low cognitive control is a major risk factor during childhood. It is therefore essential to understand how it develops. The present study provides evidence for an age‐related shift in the type of information that children prioritize in their environment, from objects that can be directly acted upon to cues signaling how to act. Specifically, gaze patterns recorded while 3‐ to 12‐year‐olds and adults engaged in a cognitive control task showed that whereas younger children fixated on targets that they needed to respond to before gazing at task cues signaling how to respond, older children and adults showed the opposite pattern (which yielded better performance). This shift in information prioritization has important conceptual implications, suggesting that a major force behind cognitive control development may be non‐executive in nature, as well as opening new directions for interventions.
Nicolas Chevalier; Julie Anne Meaney; Hilary Joy Traut; Yuko Munakata
In: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 46, pp. 1–11, 2020.
Age-related progress in cognitive control reflects more frequent engagement of proactive control during childhood. As proactive preparation for an upcoming task is adaptive only when the task can be reliably predicted, progress in proactive control engagement may rely on more efficient use of contextual cue reliability. Developmental progress may also reflect increasing efficiency in how proactive control is engaged, making this control mode more advantageous with age. To address these possibilities, 6-year-olds, 9-year-olds, and adults completed three versions of a cued task-switching paradigm in which contextual cue reliability was manipulated. When contextual cues were reliable (but not unreliable or uninformative), all age groups showed greater pupil dilation and a more pronounced (pre)cue-locked posterior positivity associated with faster response times, suggesting adaptive engagement of proactive task selection. However, adults additionally showed a larger contingent negative variation (CNV) predicting a further reduction in response times with reliable cues, suggesting motor preparation in adults but not children. Thus, early developing use of contextual cue reliability promotes adaptiveness in proactive control engagement from early childhood; yet, less efficient motor preparation in children makes this control mode overall less advantageous in childhood than adulthood.
Lillian Chien; Rong Liu; Christopher Girkin; Miyoung Kwon
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 58, no. 14, pp. 6221–6231, 2017.
Purpose: Growing evidence suggests the involvement of the macula even in early stages of glaucoma. However, little is known about the impact of glaucomatous macular damage on central pattern vision. Here we examine the contrast requirement for letter recognition and its relationship with retinal thickness in the macular region. Methods: A total of 40 participants were recruited: 13 patients with glaucoma (mean age = 65.6 +/- 6.6 years), 14 age-similar normally sighted adults (59.1 +/- 9.1 years), and 13 young normally sighted adults (21.0 +/- 2.0 years). For each participant, letter-recognition contrast thresholds were obtained using a letter recognition task in which participants identified English letters presented at varying retinal locations across the central 12 degrees visual field, including the fovea. The macular retinal ganglion cell plus inner plexiform (RGC+) layer thickness was also evaluated using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Results: Compared to age-similar normal controls, glaucoma patients exhibited a significant increase in letter-recognition contrast thresholds (by 236%, P textless 0.001) and a significant decrease in RGC+ layer thickness (by 17%, P textless 0.001) even after controlling for age, pupil diameter, and visual acuity. Compared to normal young adults, older adults showed a significant increase in letter-recognition contrast thresholds and a significant decrease in RGC+ layer thickness. Across all subjects, the thickness of macular RGC+ layer was significantly correlated with letter-recognition contrast thresholds, even after correcting for pupil diameter and visual acuity (r = -0.65, P textless 0.001). Conclusions: Our results show that both glaucoma and normal aging likely bring about a thinning of the macular RGC+ layer; the macular RGC+ layer thickness appears to be associated with the contrast requirements for letter recognition in central vision.
Wonil Choi; Matthew W Lowder; Fernanda Ferreira; Tamara Y Swaab; John M Henderson
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 232–242, 2017.
Previous eye-tracking research has characterized older adults' reading patterns as "risky," arguing that compared to young adults, older adults skip more words, have longer saccades, and are more likely to regress to previous portions of the text. In the present eye-tracking study, we reexamined the claim that older adults adopt a risky reading strategy, utilizing the boundary paradigm to manipulate parafoveal preview and contextual predictability of a target word. Results showed that older adults had longer fixation durations compared to young adults; however, there were no age differences in skipping rates, saccade length, or proportion of regressions. In addition, readers showed higher skipping rates of the target word if the preview string was a word than if it was a nonword, regardless of age. Finally, the effect of predictability in reading times on the target word was larger for older adults than for young adults. These results suggest that older adults' reading strategies are not as risky as was previously claimed. Instead, we propose that older adults can effectively combine top-down information from the sentence context with bottom-up information from the parafovea to optimize their reading strategies.
Jürgen Cholewa; Isabel Neitzel; Annika Bürsgens; Thomas Günther
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, pp. 1–16, 2019.
Like many other languages, German employs a linguistic category called “grammatical gender.” In gender-marking languages each noun is assigned to a particular gender-class (in German: masculine, feminine or neuter) and other words in a sentence which are grammatically controlled by the noun are marked by particular morphemes according to the noun's gender feature – so called gender agreement. Within psycholinguistic theories of language comprehension, it is often assumed that gender agreement might help to predict the continuation of a sentence on grammatical grounds and to reduce the lexical search space for the next words emerging within the speech signal. Thus, gender agreement relations may provide a means to make the comprehension process more effective and targeted. The aim of the current study was to assess whether monolingual German 3rd and 4th grade primary school children make use of gender agreement in online auditory comprehension and whether different gender cues interact with each other and with semantic information. A language-picture matching task was conducted in which 32 children looked at two pictures while listening to a noun phrase. Due to features of the German gender system, the target picture corresponding with the noun phrase could be predicted shortly after stimulus onset on account of gender agreement relations. The predictive impact of grammatical gender agreement on noun-phrase decoding was investigated by measuring the time course of eye-movements onto the target and distractor pictures. The results confirm and extend previous findings that gender plays a role in predictive online comprehension of gender-marking languages like German, and that even primary school children are able to make use of this grammatical device.
Lyndsey J Chong; Alexandria Meyer
In: Developmental Psychobiology, pp. 1–12, 2020.
Anxiety is one of the most common forms of child psychopathology associated with persistent impairment across the lifespan. Therefore, investigating mechanisms that underlie anxiety in early childhood may improve prevention and intervention efforts. Researchers have linked selective attention toward threat (i.e., attentional bias to threat) with the development of anxiety. However, previous work on attentional bias has used less reliable, reaction time (RT)-based measures of attention. Additionally, few studies have used eye-tracking to measure attentional bias in young children. In the present study, we investigated the psychometric properties of an eye-tracking measure of attentional bias in a sample of young children between 6- and 9-years-old and explored if trait and clinical anxiety were related to attentional biases to threat. Results showed good psychometric properties for threat and neutral attentional biases, comparable to those found in adult eye-tracking studies. Temperamental and clinical anxiety did not significantly relate to threat/neutral dwell time and attentional biases. The significance of these null findings was discussed in relation to existing developmental theories of attentional biases. Future studies should explore if temperamental or clinical anxiety prospectively predict threat attentional bias and the onset of anxiety in older children using a longitudinal design.
Antonios I Christou; Yvonne Wallis; Hayley Bair; Hayley Crawford; Steven Frisson; Maurice P Zeegers; Joseph P McCleery
In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 9, pp. 1–12, 2015.
Previous studies have documented both neuroplasticity-related BDNF VaI(66)Met and emotion regulation-related 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms as genetic variants that contribute to the processing of emotions from faces. More specifically, research has shown the BDNF Met allele and the 5-HTTLPR Short allele to be associated with mechanisms of negative affectivity that relate to susceptibility for psychopathology. We examined visual scanning pathways in response to angry, happy, and neutral faces in relation to BDNF VaI(66)Met and 5-HTTLPR genotyping in 49 children aged 4-7 years. Analyses revealed that variations in the visual processing of facial expressions of anger interacted with BDNF VaI(66)Met genotype, such that children who carried at least one low neuroplasticity Met allele exhibited a vigilance avoidance pattern of visual scanning compared to homozygotes for the high neuroplasticity Val allele. In a separate investigation of eye gaze towards the eye versus mouth regions of neutral faces, we observed that short allele 5-HTTLPR carriers exhibited reduced looking at the eye region compared with those with the higher serotonin uptake Long allele. Together, these findings suggest that genetic mechanisms early in life may influence the establishment of patterns of visual scanning of environmental stressors, which in conjunction with other factors such as negative life events, may lead to psychological difficulties and disorders in the later adolescent and adult years.
Antonios I Christou; Yvonne Wallis; Hayley Bair; Maurice Zeegers; Joseph P McCleery
In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 11, pp. 1–12, 2017.
Previous studies have documented the 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms as genetic variants that are involved in serotonin availability and also associated with emotion regulation and facial emotion processing. In particular, neuroimaging and behavioral studies of healthy populations have produced evidence to suggest that carriers of the Short allele exhibit heightened neurophysiological and behavioral reactivity when processing aversive stimuli, particularly in brain regions involved in fear. However, an additional distinction has emerged in the field, which highlights particular types of fearful information, i.e., aversive information which involves a social component versus non-social aversive stimuli. Although processing of each of these stimulus types (social and non-social) is believed to involve a subcortical neural system which includes the amygdala, evidence also suggests that the amygdala itself may be particularly responsive to socially significant environmental information, potentially due to the critical relevance of social information for humans. Examining individual differences in neurotransmitter systems which operate within this subcortical network, and in particular the serotonin system, may be critically informative for furthering our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying responses to emotional and affective stimuli. In the present study we examine visual scanning patterns in response to both aversive and positive images of a social or non-social nature in relation to 5-HTTLPR genotypes, in 49 children aged 4-7 years. Results indicate that children with at least one Short 5-HTTLPR allele spent less time fixating the threat-related non-social stimuli, compared with participants with two copies of the Long allele. Interestingly, a separate set of analyses suggests that carriers of two copies of the short 5-HTTLPR allele also spent less time fixating both the negative and positive non-social stimuli. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that genetically mediated differences in serotonin availability mediate behavioral responses to different types of emotional stimuli in young children.
Angela M Colcombe; Arthur F Kramer; David E Irwin; Matthew S Peterson; Stanley Colcombe; Sowon Hahn
In: Acta Psychologica, vol. 113, no. 2, pp. 205–225, 2003.
The present experiment examined the degree to which experience with different stimulus characteristics affects attentional capture, particularly as related to aging. Participants were presented with onset target/color singleton distractor or color singleton target/onset distractor pairs across three experimental sessions. The target/distractor pairs were reversed in the second session such that the target in the first session became the distractor in the second and third sessions. For both young and old adults previous experience with color as a target defining feature influenced oculomotor capture with task-irrelevant color distractors. Experience with sudden onsets had the same effect for younger and older adults, although capture effects were substantially larger for onset than for color distractors. Experience-based capture effects diminished relatively rapidly after target and distractor-defining properties were reversed. The results are discussed in terms of top-down and stimulus-driven effects on age-related differences in attentional control. textcopyright2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Yong Qi Cong; Caroline Junge; Evin Aktar; Maartje Raijmakers; Anna Franklin; Disa Sauter
In: Cognition and Emotion, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 391–403, 2019.
Adults perceive emotional expressions categorically, with discrimination being faster and more accurate between expressions from different emotion categories (i.e. blends with two different predominant emotions) than between two stimuli from the same category (i.e. blends with the same predominant emotion). The current study sought to test whether facial expressions of happiness and fear are perceived categorically by pre-verbal infants, using a new stimulus set that was shown to yield categorical perception in adult observers (Experiments 1 and 2). These stimuli were then used with 7-month-old infants (N = 34) using a habituation and visual preference paradigm (Experiment 3). Infants were first habituated to an expression of one emotion, then presented with the same expression paired with a novel expression either from the same emotion category or from a different emotion category. After habituation to fear, infants displayed a novelty preference for pairs of between-category expressions, but not within-category ones, showing categorical perception. However, infants showed no novelty preference when they were habituated to happiness. Our findings provide evidence for categorical perception of emotional expressions in pre-verbal infants, while the asymmetrical effect challenges the notion of a bias towards negative information in this age group.
Amanda J Connolly; Nicole J Rinehart; Joanne Fielding
In: Neuroscience, vol. 333, pp. 27–34, 2016.
Growing evidence suggests Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often co-occurs with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and a better understanding of the nature of their overlap, including at a neurobiological level, is needed. Research has implicated cerebellar-networks as part of the neural-circuitry disrupted in ASD, but little research has been carried out to investigate this in ADHD. We investigated cerebellar integrity using a double-step saccade adaptation paradigm in a group of male children age 8–15 (n = 12) diagnosed with ADHD-Combined Type (-CT). Their performance was compared to a group of age and IQ-matched typically developing (TD) controls (n = 12). Parent reported symptoms of ADHD-CT and ASD were measured, along with motor proficiency (Movement ABC-2). We found, on average, the adaptation of saccade gain was reduced for the ADHD-CT group compared to the TD group. Greater saccadic gain change (adaptation) was also positively correlated with higher Movement ABC-2 total and balance scores among the ADHD-CT participants. These differences suggest cerebellar networks underlying saccade adaptation may be disrupted in young people with ADHD-CT. Though our findings require further replication with larger samples, they suggest further research into cerebellar dysfunction in ADHD-CT, and as a point of neurobiological overlap with ASD, may be warranted.