EyeLink Developmental Eye-Tracking Publications
All EyeLink developmental research publications (infants / children / aging) up until 2020 (with some early 2021s) are listed below by year. You can search the publications using keywords such as Infant, Reading, Word Recognition, etc. You can also search for individual author names. If we missed any EyeLink developmental article, please email us!
Hannah Elizabeth Howman; Ruth Filik
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73 (11), pp. 1729–1744, 2020.
We present an eye-tracking experiment examining moment-to-moment processes underlying the comprehension of emoticons. Younger (18–30) and older (65+) participants had their eye movements recorded while reading scenarios containing comments that were ambiguous between literal or sarcastic interpretations (e.g., But you're so quick though). Comments were accompanied by wink emoticons or full stops. Results showed that participants read earlier parts of the wink scenarios faster than those with full stops, but then spent more time reading the text surrounding the emoticon. Thus, readers moved more quickly to the end of the text when there was a device that may aid interpretation but then spent more time processing the conflict between the superficially positive nature of the comment and the tone implied by the emoticon. Interestingly, the wink increased the likelihood of a sarcastic interpretation in younger adults only, suggesting that perceiver-related factors play an important role in emoticon interpretation.
Ondřej Javora; Tereza Hannemann; Kristina Volná; Filip Děchtěrenko; Tereza Tetourová; Tereza Stárková; Cyril Brom
In: Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, pp. 1–14, 2020.
The present study investigates affective-motivational, attention, and learning effects of unexplored emotional design manipulation: Contextual animation (animation of contextual elements) in multimedia learning game (MLGs) for children. Participants (N = 134; Mage = 9.25; Grades 3 and 4) learned either from an experimental version of the MLG with a high amount of contextual animation or from an identical MLG with no contextual animation (control). Children strongly preferred ($chi$2 = 87.04, p textless.001) and found the experimental version more attractive (p textless.001
Hyun Jun Jeon; Yeojeong Yun; Oh Sang Kwon
In: Scientific Reports, 10 , pp. 1–11, 2020.
We examined the effect of aging on the integration of position and motion signals, which is essential for tracking visual objects, using the motion-induced position shift (MIPS) phenomenon. We first measured the MIPS and bias in speed perception at three eccentricities. Both young and older adults showed the increasing MIPS and decreasing perceived speed as the eccentricity increased, which is consistent with previous literature. More importantly, we found that the mean MIPS was 2.87 times larger in older adults, and the response variability in position tasks showed a larger difference between age groups compared with the difference in speed tasks. We then measured the MIPS across stimulus durations. Temporal changes in the MIPS showed similar patterns in young and older adults in that the MIPS initially peaked at around 60 ms and approached an asymptote. We further analyzed the changes in response variability across stimulus durations to estimate sensory noise and propagation noise separately and found that only sensory noise was significantly larger in older adults. The overall results suggest that the increased MIPS in older adults is due to the increased dependency on predictive motion signals to compensate for the relatively imprecise position signals, which in turn implies that older adults would depend more on the motion signals to track objects.
Shang Jiang; Xin Jiang; Anna Siyanova-Chanturia
In: Applied Psycholinguistics, 41 (4), pp. 901–931, 2020.
The processing advantage for multiword expressions over novel language has long been attested in the literature. However, the evidence pertains almost exclusively to multiword expression processing in adults. Whether or not other populations are sensitive to phrase frequency effects is largely unknown. Here, we sought to address this gap by recording the eye movements of third and fourth graders, as well as adults (first-language Mandarin) as they read phrases varying in frequency embedded in sentence context. We were interested in how phrase frequency, operationalized as phrase type (collocation vs. control) or (continuous) phrase frequency, and age might influence participants' reading. Adults read collocations and higher frequency phrases consistently faster than control and lower frequency phrases, respectively. Critically, fourth, but not third, graders read collocations and higher frequency phrases faster than control and lower frequency sequences, respectively, although this effect was largely confined to a late measure. Our results reaffirm phrase frequency effects in adults and point to emerging phrase frequency effects in primary school children. The use of eye tracking has further allowed us to tap into early versus late stages of phrasal processing, to explore different areas of interest, and to probe possible differences between phrase frequency conceptualized as a dichotomy versus a continuum.
Yu Cin Jian
In: Reading and Writing, pp. 1–26, 2020.
Reading strategy instruction has been an important area in educational psychology for decades, however, research has primarily focused on its influence on learning outcomes rather than learning processes; reading pure texts rather than illustrated texts; and immediate effect rather than retention effect. This study used an eye-tracker to investigate the immediate and delayed effects of text–diagram reading instruction on reading comprehension and learning processes in illustrated text reading. Fourth-grade students with high (N = 66) and low reading ability (N = 66) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a text–diagram group who received text–diagram instruction which emphasized diagram decoding and integration of relevant textual and pictorial information, a placebo group who received instruction which emphasized comprehension monitoring, and a control group which received no reading instruction. All participants read four illustrated science texts for a baseline check, instructional example, immediate testing, and delayed testing. The results showed that the effect of text–diagram instruction was more evident in the immediate test than the delayed test. The eye-movement pattern showed that the students who received text–diagram reading instruction spent significantly more reading time on illustrations, made more integrative transitions between text and illustrations, and spent a higher proportion of total reading time on illustrations in immediate and delayed reading situations than the other groups. Overall, this study developed an effective text–diagram instruction method to promote reading comprehension, identified the reading processes underlying the effect of text–diagram strategy instruction, and depicted the changing appearances of reading instruction intervention over time.
Elizabeth Carolina Jiménez; August Romeo; Laura Pérez Zapata; Maria Solé Puig; Patricia Bustos-Valenzuela; José Cañete; Paloma Varela Casal; Hans Supèr
In: Vision Research, 169 , pp. 6–11, 2020.
Vergence eye movements are movements of both eyes in opposite directions. Vergence is known to have a role in binocular vision. However recent studies link vergence eye movements also to attention and attention disorders. As attention may be involved in dyslexia, it is sensible to guess that the presence of reading difficulties can be associated with specific patterns in vergence responses. Data from school children performing a word-reading task have been analysed. In the task, children had to distinguish words from non-words (scrambled words or row of X's), while their eye positions were recorded. Our findings show that after stimulus presentation eyes briefly converge. These vergence responses depend on the stimulus type and age of the child, and are different for children with reading difficulties. Our findings support the idea of a role of attention in word reading and offer an explanation of altered attention in dyslexia.
Gary Jones; Francesco Cabiddu; Daniela S Avila-Varela
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 199 , pp. 1–19, 2020.
We know that 8-month-old infants track the statistical properties of a series of syllables and that 2- and 3-year-old children process familiar phrases more efficiently than unfamiliar phrases, but less is known about the intermediary level of two-word sequences. In Study 1, 2-year-olds (N = 45, mean age = 651 days) heard two-word sequences consisting of a prime word followed by a noun, with two pictures appearing on the screen (depicting the noun and a distractor). Eye tracking showed that children looked more quickly at the noun picture for two-word sequences occurring an average of 19 times per million and 206 times per million in child-directed speech than for novel sequences. In Study 2, corpus analyses showed that 2-year-olds' noun learning increased in line with the frequency of the two-word sequence that preceded it in caregiver speech utterances. This effect holds even after controlling nouns for frequency in caregiver speech, phonemic length, neighborhood density, phonotactic probability, and concreteness and after removing nouns produced in isolation by caregivers and nouns produced by children before being produced by caregivers. These studies show that young children's language processing is facilitated by known two-word sequences, allowing children to focus on more novel aspects of the utterance. Such efficiencies are far-reaching because nearly two thirds of child-directed utterances contain two-word sequences with frequencies of 19 or more per million.
Caroline Junge; Emma Everaert; Lyan Porto; Paula Fikkert; Maartje de Klerk; Brigitta Keij; Titia Benders
In: Infant Behavior and Development, 60 , pp. 1–13, 2020.
This paper compared three different procedures common in infant speech perception research: a headturn preference procedure (HPP) and a central-fixation (CF) procedure with either automated eye-tracking (CF-ET) or manual coding (CF-M). In theory, such procedures all measure the same underlying speech perception and learning mechanisms and the choice between them should ideally be irrelevant in unveiling infant preference. However, the ManyBabies study (ManyBabies Consortium, 2019), a cross-laboratory collaboration on infants' preference for child-directed speech, revealed that choice of procedure can modulate effect sizes. Here we examined whether procedure also modulates preference in paradigms that add a learning phase prior to test: a speech segmentation paradigm. Such paradigms are particularly important for studying the learning mechanisms infants can employ for language acquisition. We carried out the same familiarization-then-test experiment with the three different procedures (32 unique infants per procedure). Procedures were compared on various factors, such as overall effect, average looking time and drop-out rate. The key observations are that the HPP yielded a larger familiarity preference, but also reported larger drop-out rates. This raises questions about the generalizability of results. We argue that more collaborative research into different procedures in infant preference experiments is required in order to interpret the variation in infant preferences more accurately.
Marina Kalashnikova; Jovana Pejovic; Manuel Carreiras
In: Developmental Science, pp. 1–20, 2020.
Bilingualism is a powerful experiential factor, and its effects have been proposed to extend beyond the linguistic domain by boosting the development of executive functioning skills. Crucially, recent findings suggest that this effect can be detected in bilingual infants before their first birthday indicating that it emerges as a result of early bilingual exposure and the experience of negotiating two linguistic systems in infants' environment. However, these conclusions are based on only two research studies from the last decade (Comishen, Bialystok, & Adler, 2019; Kovács & Mehler, 2009), so to date, there is a lack of evidence regarding their replicability and generalizability. In addition, previous research does not shed light on the precise aspects of bilingual experience and the extent of bilingual exposure underlying the emergence of this early bilingual advantage. The present study addressed these two questions by assessing attentional control abilities in 7-month-old bilingual infants in comparison to same-age monolinguals and in relation to their individual bilingual exposure patterns. Findings did not reveal significant differences between monolingual and bilingual infants in the measure of attentional control and no relation between individual performance and degree of bilingual exposure. Bilinguals showed different patterns of allocating attention to the visual rewards in this task compared to monolinguals. Thus, this study indicates that bilingualism modulates attentional processes early on, possibly as a result of bilinguals' experience of encoding dual-language information from a complex linguistic input, but it does not lead to significant advantages in attentional control in the first year of life.
Eeva Leena Kataja; Linnea Karlsson; Jukka M Leppänen; Juho Pelto; Tuomo Häikiö; Saara Nolvi; Henri Pesonen; Christine E Parsons; Jukka Hyönä; Hasse Karlsson
In: Child Development, 91 (2), pp. e475–e480, 2020.
We examined how infants' attentional disengagement from happy, fearful, neutral, and phase-scrambled faces at 8 months, as assessed by eye tracking, is associated with trajectories of maternal depressive symptoms from early pregnancy to 6 months postpartum (decreasing n = 48, increasing n = 34, and consistently low symptom levels n = 280). The sample (mother–infant dyads belonging to a larger FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study) was collected between 5/2013–6/2016. The overall disengagement probability from faces to distractors was not related to maternal depressive symptoms, but fear bias was heightened in infants whose mothers reported decreasing or increasing depressive symptoms. Exacerbated attention to fearful faces in infants of mothers with depressive symptoms may be independent of the timing of the symptoms in the pre- and postnatal stages.
Eeva Leena Kataja; Jukka M Leppänen; Katri Kantojärvi; Juho Pelto; Tuomo Häikiö; Riikka Korja; Saara Nolvi; Hasse Karlsson; Tiina Paunio; Linnea Karlsson
In: Infant Behavior and Development, 60 , pp. 1–12, 2020.
TPH2, the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of serotonin, has been connected to several psychiatric outcomes. Its allelic variant, rs4570625, has been found to relate to individual differences in cognitive and emotion regulation during infancy with T-carriers of rs4570625 showing a relatively heightened attention bias for fearful faces. A significant gene-environment interaction was also reported with the T-carriers of mothers with depressive symptoms showing the highest fear bias. We investigated these associations in a sample of 8-month old infants (N = 330), whose mothers were prescreened for low/high levels of prenatal depressive and/or anxiety symptoms. Attention disengagement from emotional faces (neutral, happy, fearful, and phase-scrambled control faces) to distractors was assessed with eye tracking and an overlap paradigm. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed at several time points during pregnancy and postpartum. The mean levels of symptoms at six months postpartum and the trajectories of symptoms from early pregnancy until six months postpartum were used in the analyses (N = 274). No main effect of the rs4570625 genotype on attention disengagement was found. The difference in fear bias between the genotypes was significant but in an opposite direction compared to a previous study. The results regarding the interaction of the genotype and maternal depression were not in accordance with the previous studies. These results show inconsistencies in the effects of the rs4570625 genotype on attention biases in separate samples of infants from the same population with only slight differences in age.
Jolie R Keemink; Lauren Jenner; Jonathan E Prunty; Nicky Wood; David J Kelly
In: Autism Research, pp. 1–11, 2020.
Abstract: Studies with infant siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have attempted to identify early markers for the disorder and suggest that autistic symptoms emerge between 12 and 24 months of age. Yet, a reliable first-year marker remains elusive. We propose that in order to establish first-year manifestations of this inherently social disorder, we need to develop research methods that are sufficiently socially demanding and realistically interactive. Building on Keemink et al. [2019, Developmental Psychology, 55, 1362–1371], we employed a gaze-contingent eye-tracking paradigm in which infants could interact with face stimuli. Infants could elicit emotional expressions (happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger) from on-screen faces by engaging in eye contact. We collected eye-tracking data and video-recorded behavioural response data from 122 (64 male, 58 female) typically developing infants and 31 infant siblings (17 male, 14 female) aged 6-, 9- and 12-months old. All infants demonstrated a significant Expression by AOI interaction (F(10, 1470) = 10.003, P textless 0.001, ŋp2 = 0.064). Infants' eye movements were “expression-specific” with infants distributing their fixations to AOIs differently per expression. Whereas eye movements provide no evidence of deviancies, behavioural response data show significant aberrancies in reciprocity for infant siblings. Infant siblings show reduced social responsiveness at the group level (F(1, 147) = 4.10
Brianna Keenan; Julie Markant
In: Developmental Psychobiology, pp. 1–9, 2020.
Experience-based biases in face processing can reflect both attention orienting biases that support efficient selection of faces from competing stimuli and attention holding biases that allow for detailed encoding of selected faces. It is well established that infants demonstrate both species- and race-based biases in attention holding. Fewer studies have found species-based, but not race-based, orienting biases in infancy but these studies examined species- and race-based biases separately and measured overall orienting without examining attention to distractors. The present study directly compared 6- and 11-month-old infants' species- and race-based biases in attention holding and orienting to faces. We measured infants' duration of looking and frequency/speed of orienting to own-race, other-race, and monkey faces in multi-item search arrays, and their frequency of orienting to faces and distractors during search. Infants showed expected species- and race-based biases in attention holding but only a species-based bias in overall orienting. However, they also showed reduced orienting to salient distractors in the context of own-race faces. These results suggest that orienting mechanisms mediating face selection are robustly driven by species information while orienting to faces versus distractors during search may also reflect prior learning about frequently experienced own-race faces.
B L Kelleher; A L Hogan; J Ezell; K Caravella; J Schmidt; Q Wang; J E Roberts
In: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 64 (4), pp. 296–302, 2020.
Background: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a single-gene disorder highly associated with anxiety; however, measuring anxiety symptoms in FXS and other neurogenetic syndromes is challenged by common limitations in language, self-awareness and cognitive skills required for many traditional assessment tasks. Prior studies have documented group-level differences in threat-related attentional biases, assessed via eye tracking, in FXS and non-FXS groups. The present study built on this work to test whether attentional biases correspond to clinical features of anxiety among adolescents and young adults with FXS. Methods: Participants included 21 male adolescents with FXS ages 15–20 years who completed an adapted eye-tracking task that measured attentional bias towards fearful faces of varied emotional intensity. Results: Among participants without anxiety disorders, attentional bias towards fear increased across age, similar to non-FXS paediatric anxiety samples. In contrast, participants with anxiety disorders exhibited greater stability in fear-related attentional biases across age. Across analyses, subtle fear stimuli were more sensitive to within-group anxiety variability than full-intensity stimuli. Conclusions: Our results provide novel evidence that although threat-related attentional biases may correspond with anxiety outcomes in FXS, these associations are complex and vary across developmental and task factors. Future studies are needed to characterise these associations in more robust longitudinal samples, informing whether and how eye-tracking tasks might be optimised to reliably predict and track anxiety in FXS.
A A Korneev; Yu E Matveeva; T V Akhutina
In: Human Physiology, 46 (3), pp. 235–243, 2020.
Abstract: We studied the reading skills in primary schoolchildren (8–9 years of age) using the neuropsychological and eye tracking methods. We analyzed possible correlations between the level of reading skills and the preferred reading strategy with the features of eye movements and the cognitive function of children. The study involved 46 third-graders. Their reading skill was evaluated using the words with regular and irregular spelling. Based on a cluster analysis of reading performance, these children were divided into four groups according to the level and quality of reading development. Group 1 read all types of words well enough; group 2 read well regular words and slightly worse irregular words; children from groups 3 and 4 read regular words at a satisfactory level, while irregular words were read significantly worse than regular ones in group 3 and were not read by group 4 children. An eye tracking study allowed us to suggest that children with good reading skills are more likely to use the lexical strategy, and children with relatively poor reading skills use the sublexical strategy, which is more available to them. Moreover, analysis of the individual differences in poor readers showed that some of them were also able to recruit lexical strategy in the reading process.
Grace Lin; Raghda Al Ani; Ewa Niechwiej-Szwedo
In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, 14 , pp. 1–9, 2020.
A robust association between reduced visual acuity and cognitive function in older adults has been revealed in large population studies. The aim of this work was to assess the relation between stereoacuity, a key aspect of binocular vision, and inhibitory control, an important component of executive functions. Inhibition was tested using the antisaccade task in older adults with normal or reduced stereopsis (study 1), and in young adults with transiently reduced stereopsis (study 2). Older adults with reduced stereopsis made significantly more errors on the antisaccade task in comparison to those with normal stereopsis. Specifically, there was a significant correlation between stereoacuity and antisaccade errors ( r = 0.27
Nina Liu; Xia Wang; Guoli Yan; Kevin B Paterson; Ascensión Pagán
In: Scientific Studies of Reading, pp. 1–17, 2020.
The frequency and contextual predictability of words have a fundamental role in determining where and when the eyes move during reading in both alphabetic and non-alphabetic languages. However, surprising little is known about the how the influence of these variables develops, although this is important for understanding how children learn to read. Accordingly, to gain insight into their use during reading development, we examined the effects of orthogonally manipulating the frequency and contextual predictability of a specific target word in sentences on the eye movements of developing Chinese readers. The findings show that both factors influence eye movement behavior associated with the early processing of words during reading, but that effects of contextual predictability are mediated by the lexical frequency of words. We consider these effects in the context of visual and linguistic demands associated with reading Chinese and in relation to current models of eye movement control during reading.
Zhifang Liu; Wen Tong; Yongqiang Su
In: PeerJ, 8 , pp. 1–22, 2020.
Background. It was well known that age has an impact on word processing (word frequency or predictability) in terms of fixating time during reading. However, little is known about whether or not age modulates these impacts on saccade behaviors in Chinese reading (i.e., length of incoming/outgoing saccades for a target word). Methods. Age groups, predictability, and frequency of target words were manipulated in the present study. A larger frequency effect on lexical accessing (i.e., gaze duration) and on context integration (i.e., go-past time, total reading time), as well as larger predictability effects on data of raw total reading time, were observed in older readers when compared with their young counterparts. Results. Effect of predictability and frequency on word skipping and re-fixating rate did not differ across the two age groups. Notably, reliable interaction effects of age, along with word predictability and/or frequency, on the length of the first incoming/outgoing saccade for a target word were also observed. Discussion. Our findings suggest that the word processing function of older Chinese readers in terms of saccade targeting declines with age.
Praghajieeth Raajhen Santhana Gopalan; Otto Loberg; Jarmo A Hämäläinen; Paavo H T Leppänen
In: Scientific Reports, 9 , pp. 2940, 2019.
Attention-related processes include three functional sub-components: alerting, orienting, and inhibition. We investigated these components using EEG-based, brain event-related potentials and their neuronal source activations during the Attention Network Test in typically developing school-aged children. Participants were asked to detect the swimming direction of the centre fish in a group of five fish. The target stimulus was either preceded by a cue (centre, double, or spatial) or no cue. An EEG using 128 electrodes was recorded for 83 children aged 12–13 years. RTs showed significant effects across all three sub-components of attention. Alerting and orienting (responses to double vs non-cued target stimulus and spatially vs centre-cued target stimulus, respectively) resulted in larger N1 amplitude, whereas inhibition (responses to incongruent vs congruent target stimulus) resulted in larger P3 amplitude. Neuronal source activation for the alerting effect was localized in the right anterior temporal and bilateral occipital lobes, for the orienting effect bilaterally in the occipital lobe, and for the inhibition effect in the medial prefrontal cortex and left anterior temporal lobe. Neuronal sources of ERPs revealed that sub-processes related to the attention network are different in children as compared to earlier adult fMRI studies, which was not evident from scalp ERPs.
Michele Scaltritti; Aliaksei Miniukovich; Paola Venuti; Remo Job; Antonella De Angeli; Simone Sulpizio
In: Scientific Reports, 9 , pp. 12711, 2019.
Webpage reading is ubiquitous in daily life. As Web technologies allow for a large variety of layouts and visual styles, the many formatting options may lead to poor design choices, including low readability. This research capitalizes on the existing readability guidelines for webpage design to outline several visuo-typographic variables and explore their effect on eye movements during webpage reading. Participants included children and adults, and for both groups typical readers and readers with dyslexia were considered. Actual webpages, rather than artificial ones, served as stimuli. This allowed to test multiple typographic variables in combination and in their typical ranges rather than in possibly unrealistic configurations. Several typographic variables displayed a significant effect on eye movements and reading performance. The effect was mostly homogeneous across the four groups, with a few exceptions. Beside supporting the notion that a few empirically-driven adjustments to the texts' visual appearance can facilitate reading across different populations, the results also highlight the challenge of making digital texts accessible to readers with dyslexia. Theoretically, the results highlight the importance of low-level visual factors, corroborating the emphasis of recent psychological models on visual attention and crowding in reading.
Felicia Zhang; Sagi Jaffe-Dax; Robert C Wilson; Lauren L Emberson
Prediction in infants and adults: A pupillometry study Journal Article
In: Developmental Science, 22 (4), pp. 1–9, 2019.
Adults use both bottom-up sensory inputs and top-down signals to generate predictions about future sensory inputs. Infants have also been shown to make predictions with simple stimuli and recent work has suggested top-down processing is available early in infancy. However, it is unknown whether this indicates that top-down prediction is an ability that is continuous across the lifespan or whether an infant's ability to predict is different from an adult's, qualitatively or quantitatively. We employed pupillometry to provide a direct comparison of prediction abilities across these disparate age groups. Pupil dilation response (PDR) was measured in 6-month olds and adults as they completed an identical implicit learning task designed to help learn associations between sounds and pictures. We found significantly larger PDR for visual omission trials (i.e. trials that violated participants' predictions without the presentation of new stimuli to control for bottom-up signals) compared to visual present trials (i.e. trials that confirmed participants' predictions) in both age groups. Furthermore, a computational learning model that is closely linked to prediction error (Rescorla-Wagner model) demonstrated similar learning trajectories suggesting a continuity of predictive capacity and learning across the two age groups.
Bob McMurray; Jamie Klein-Packard; Bruce J Tomblin
In: Cognition, 191 , pp. 104000, 2019.
Eight to 11% of children have a clinical disorder in oral language (Developmental Language Disorder, DLD). Language deficits in DLD can affect all levels of language and persist through adulthood. Word-level processing may be critical as words link phonology, orthography, syntax and semantics. Thus, a lexical deficit could cascade throughout language. Cognitively, word recognition is a competition process: as the input (e.g., lizard) unfolds, multiple candidates (liver, wizard) compete for recognition. Children with DLD do not fully resolve this competition, but it is unclear what cognitive mechanisms underlie this. We examined lexical inhibition—the ability of more active words to suppress competitors—in 79 adolescents with and without DLD. Participants heard words (e.g. net) in which the onset was manipulated to briefly favor a competitor (neck). This was predicted to inhibit the target, slowing recognition. Word recognition was measured using a task in which participants heard the stimulus, and clicked on a picture of the item from an array of competitors, while eye-movements were monitored as a measure of how strongly the participant was committed to that interpretation over time. TD listeners showed evidence of inhibition with greater interference for stimuli that briefly activated a competitor word. DLD listeners did not. This suggests deficits in DLD may stem from a failure to engage lexical inhibition. This in turn could have ripple effects throughout the language system. This supports theoretical approaches to DLD that emphasize lexical-level deficits, and deficits in real-time processing.
Arielle Borovsky; Ryan E Peters
In: PLoS ONE, 14 (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.
David J Kelly; Sofia Duarte; David Meary; Markus Bindemann; Olivier Pascalis
In: Developmental Science, 22 (6), pp. 1–10, 2019.
Infants respond preferentially to faces and face-like stimuli from birth, but past research has typically presented faces in isolation or amongst an artificial array of competing objects. In the current study infants aged 3- to 12-months viewed a series of complex visual scenes; half of the scenes contained a person, the other half did not. Infants rapidly detected and oriented to faces in scenes even when they were not visually salient. Although a clear developmental improvement was observed in face detection and interest, all infants displayed sensitivity to the presence of a person in a scene, by displaying eye movements that differed quantifiably across a range of measures when viewing scenes that either did or did not contain a person. We argue that infant's face detection capabilities are ostensibly “better” with naturalistic stimuli and artificial array presentations used in previous studies have underestimated performance.
Wanlu Fu; Jing Zhao; Yun Ding; Zhiguo Wang
Dyslexic children are sluggish in disengaging spatial attention Journal Article
In: Dyslexia, 25 (2), pp. 158–172, 2019.
Previous work has shown that inefficient attentional orienting is likely a causal factor for dyslexia; however, the nature of this attentional dysfunction remains unclear. The process of attentional orienting is characterized by an early facilitation effect, resulting from the successful engagement of attention, and a later inhibitory effect—frequently referred to as inhibition of return (IOR)—which encourages attentional disengagement and facilitates efficient visual sampling. The present study examined the time course of attentional orienting in dyslexic and typically developing children, by parametrically manipulating the cue-target onset asynchronies in a spatial cueing task. Experiment 1 revealed an early facilitation effect in dyslexic children, suggesting that they have no issue in engaging attention to salient spatial locations. However, contrast to both age-matched and reading level-matched healthy controls, no reliable IOR effect was observed in dyslexic children, suggesting that they have difficulties in disengaging attention. When a second cue was presented to encourage attentional disengagement in Experiment 2, reliable IOR effects were observed in the same group of dyslexic children, and importantly, the onset time of IOR was comparable with that in healthy controls. These results clearly show a selective impairment of attentional disengagement in dyslexic children and provide a solid empirical basis for intervention programmes focusing on attentional shifting.
Jesse Gomez; Alexis Drain; Brianna Jeska; Vaidehi S Natu; Michael Barnett; Kalanit Grill-Spector
In: NeuroImage, 188 , pp. 59–69, 2019.
Human visual cortex encompasses more than a dozen visual field maps across three major processing streams. One of these streams is the lateral visual stream, which extends from V1 to lateral-occipital (LO) and temporal-occipital (TO) visual field maps and plays a prominent role in shape as well as motion perception. However, it is unknown if and how population receptive fields (pRFs) in the lateral visual stream develop from childhood to adulthood, and what impact this development may have on spatial coding. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and pRF modeling in school-age children and adults to investigate the development of the lateral visual stream. Our data reveal four main findings: 1) The topographic organization of eccentricity and polar angle maps of the lateral stream is stable after age five. 2) In both age groups there is a reliable relationship between eccentricity map transitions and cortical folding: the middle occipital gyrus predicts the transition between the peripheral representation of LO and TO maps. 3) pRFs in LO and TO maps undergo differential development from childhood to adulthood, resulting in increasing coverage of the central visual field in LO and of the peripheral visual field in TO. 4) Model-based decoding shows that the consequence of pRF and visual field coverage development is improved spatial decoding from LO and TO distributed responses in adults vs. children. Together, these results explicate both the development and topography of the lateral visual stream. Our data show that the general structural-functional organization is laid out early in development, but fine-scale properties, such as pRF distribution across the visual field and consequently, spatial precision, become fine-tuned across childhood development. These findings advance understanding of the development of the human visual system from childhood to adulthood and provide an essential foundation for understanding developmental deficits.
Ramona Grzeschik; Ruth Conroy-Dalton; Anthea Innes; Shanti Shanker; Jan M Wiener
In: Cognition, 187 , pp. 50–61, 2019.
Our ability to learn unfamiliar routes declines in typical and atypical ageing. The reasons for this decline, however, are not well understood. Here we used eye-tracking to investigate how ageing affects people's ability to attend to navigationally relevant information and to select unique objects as landmarks. We created short routes through a virtual environment, each comprised of four intersections with two objects each, and we systematically manipulated the saliency and uniqueness of these objects. While salient objects might be easier to memorise than non-salient objects, they cannot be used as reliable landmarks if they appear more than once along the route. As cognitive ageing affects executive functions and control of attention, we hypothesised that the process of selecting navigationally relevant objects as landmarks might be affected as well. The behavioural data showed that younger participants outperformed the older participants and the eye-movement data revealed some systematic differences between age groups. Specifically, older adults spent less time looking at the unique, and therefore navigationally relevant, landmark objects. Both young and older participants, however, effectively directed gaze towards the unique and away from the non-unique objects, even if these were more salient. These findings highlight specific age-related differences in the control of attention that could contribute to declining route learning abilities in older age. Interestingly, route-learning performance in the older age group was more variable than in the young age group with some older adults showing performance similar to the young group. These individual differences in route learning performance were strongly associated with verbal and episodic memory abilities.
Pascal Mark Gygax; Lucie Schoenhals; Arik Lévy; Patrick Luethold; Ute Gabriel
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 10 , pp. 1–10, 2019.
In French, and other gender marked languages, there are two ways to interpret a grammatical masculine form when used to refer to social roles or occupations [e.g., les magiciens (the magiciansmasculine)]. It can refer to a group composed of only men (specific use of the masculine form), or one composed of both women and men (generic use). Studies of adults revealed that the rule that masculine forms can be interpreted as inclusive of either gender is not readily applied. To gain a better understanding of the processes shaping this phenomenon, we present a follow-up study (N = 52) to Lévy et al. (2016) to explore how French-speaking kindergarten children (3-5 years of age) resolve the semantic ambiguity of the grammatical masculine form when presented with role or occupation nouns. In a paradigm where participants' gazes were monitored, children were presented with pictures of a pair of two boys and a pair of one girl and one boy and were prompted to Look at the [role nounmasculine plural form]. First, the results suggest a stereotype effect in that children more strongly directed their gaze toward the boy-boy picture for stereotypical male role nouns, but toward the girl-boy picture for stereotypical female role nouns. Second, in the non-stereotypical/neutral condition we did not find an indication of any own-sex preference (as in Lévy et al., 2016), but of an influence of the role nouns' grammatical gender, in that children more strongly directed their gaze toward boy-boy pictures than toward girl-boy pictures. We suggest that a specific interpretation of masculine forms might already start to emerge between 3 and 5 years of age, while gender stereotypes are still activated.
Julia Habicht; Oliver Behler; Birger Kollmeier; Tobias Neher
In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, 13 , pp. 1–15, 2019.
Recently, evidence has been accumulating that untreated hearing loss can lead to neurophysiological changes that affect speech processing abilities in noise. To shed more light on how aiding may impact these effects, this study explored the influence of hearing aid (HA) experience on the cognitive processes underlying speech comprehension. Eye-tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurements were carried out with acoustic sentence-in-noise (SiN) stimuli complemented by pairs of pictures that either correctly (target picture) or incorrectly (competitor picture) depicted the sentence meanings. For the eye-tracking measurements, the time taken by the participants to start fixating the target picture (the ‘processing time') was measured. For the fMRI measurements, brain activation inferred from blood-oxygen-level dependent responses following sentence comprehension was measured. A noise-only condition was also included. Groups of older hearing-impaired individuals matched in terms of age, hearing loss, and working memory capacity with (eHA; N = 13) or without (iHA; N = 14) HA experience participated. All acoustic stimuli were presented via earphones with individual linear amplification to ensure audibility. Consistent with previous findings, the iHA group had significantly longer (poorer) processing times than the eHA group, despite no differences in speech recognition performance. Concerning the fMRI measurements, there were indications of less brain activation in some right frontal areas for SiN relative to noise-only stimuli in the eHA group compared to the iHA group. Together, these results suggest that HA experience leads to faster speech-in-noise processing, possibly related to less recruitment of brain regions outside the core sentence-comprehension network. Follow-up research is needed to substantiate the findings related to changes in cortical speech processing with HA use.
Dorothea Hämmerer; Philipp Schwartenbeck; Maria Gallagher; Thomas Henry Benedict FitzGerald; Emrah Düzel; Raymond Joseph Dolan
In: Neurobiology of Aging, 74 , pp. 90–100, 2019.
Older adults struggle in dealing with changeable and uncertain environments across several cognitive domains. This has been attributed to difficulties in forming adequate task representations that help navigate uncertain environments. Here, we investigate how, in older adults, inadequate task representations impact on model-based reversal learning. We combined computational modeling and pupillometry during a novel model-based reversal learning task, which allowed us to isolate the relevance of task representations at feedback evaluation. We find that older adults overestimate the changeability of task states and consequently are less able to converge on unequivocal task representations through learning. Pupillometric measures and behavioral data show that these unreliable task representations in older adults manifest as a reduced ability to focus on feedback that is relevant for updating task representations, and as a reduced metacognitive awareness in the accuracy of their actions. Instead, the data suggested older adults' choice behavior was more consistent with a guidance by uninformative feedback properties such as outcome valence. Our study highlights that an inability to form adequate task representations may be a crucial factor underlying older adults' impaired model-based inference.
Naomi Havron; Alex de Carvalho; Anne Caroline Fiévet; Anne Christophe
In: Child Development, 90 (1), pp. 82–90, 2019.
Adults create and update predictions about what speakers will say next. This study asks whether prediction can drive language acquisition, by testing whether 3- to 4-year-old children (n = 45) adapt to recent information when learning novel words. The study used a syntactic context which can precede both nouns and verbs to manipulate children's predictions about what syntactic category will follow. Children for whom the syntactic context predicted verbs were more likely to infer that a novel word appearing in this context referred to an action, than children for whom it predicted nouns. This suggests that children make rapid changes to their predictions, and use this information to learn novel information, supporting the role of prediction in language acquisition.
Marilyn Horta; Maryam Ziaei; Tian Lin; Eric C Porges; Håkan Fischer; David Feifel; Nathan R Spreng; Natalie C Ebner
In: Neurobiology of Aging, 78 , pp. 42–51, 2019.
Aging is associated with increased difficulty in facial emotion identification, possibly due to age-related network change. The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) facilitates emotion identification, but this is understudied in aging. To determine the effects of OT on dynamic facial emotion identification across adulthood, 46 young and 48 older participants self-administered intranasal OT or a placebo in a randomized, double-blind procedure. Older participants were slower and less accurate in identifying emotions. Although there was no behavioral treatment effect, partial least squares analysis supported treatment effects on brain patterns during emotion identification that varied by age and emotion. For young participants, OT altered the processing of sadness and happiness, whereas for older participants, OT only affected the processing of sadness (15.3% covariance
In: Reading Psychology, 40 , pp. 397–424, 2019.
This study adopted eye movement miscue analysis research method to examine and illustrate the cognitive and psychological processes of meaning construction and error detection in reading Chinese. Eighteen Taiwanese grade five elementary students read a short Chinese text with six embedded errors. Results show that like earlier studies, only about a third of the errors were detected. Unlike earlier research, meaning group found more errors than did the error group. Reading miscues, eye movements, and the juxtaposition of the two sources of information helped to more fully illustrate the dynamic and complex processes of seeing, perceiving, reading aloud and comprehending.
Yu Cin Jian
In: International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 17 (3), pp. 503–522, 2019.
Science texts often use visual representations (e.g. diagrams, graphs, photographs) to help readers learn science knowledge. Reading an illustrated text for learning is one type of multimedia learning. Empirical research has increasingly confirmed the signaling principle's effectiveness in multimedia learning. Highlighting correspondences between text and pictures benefits learning outcomes. However, the signaling effect's cognitive processes and its generalizability to young readers are unknown. This study clarified these aspects using eye-tracking technology and reading tests. Eighty-nine sixth-grade students read an illustrated science text in one of three conditions: reading material with signals, without signals (identical labels of Diagram 1 and Diagram 2 in text and illustration), and with signals combined with reading instructions. Findings revealed that the signaling principle alone cannot be generalized to young readers. Specifically, “Diagram 1” and “Diagram 2” in parentheses mixed with science text content had limited signaling effect for students and reading instructions are necessary. Eye movements reflected cognitive processes of science reading; students who received reading instructions employed greater cognitive effort and time in reading illustrations and tried to integrate textual and pictorial information using signals.
Yu Cin Jian; Jia Han Su; Yong Ru Hsiao
In: Computers and Education, 142 , pp. 1–14, 2019.
This study used eye-tracking technology to investigate the different types of reading strategies that sixth graders adopt to comprehend illustrated science articles, as well as the relationship between reading process and reading comprehension. The participants were 122 sixth-grade students whose eye movements were monitored during silent reading of a science article containing one representational diagram and one explanatory diagram. Cluster analysis was performed based on five eye movement indices: first-pass (initial processing)/look-back (late-stage processing) total fixation duration on texts and diagrams, and number of saccades between text and diagram. Results showed that sixth graders adopted four types of reading strategy to read science article: Initial-global-scan students (21%) reading the science text and examining the science diagram for the first time tend to quickly scan the material, then read it carefully, and engage in saccade behavior. Shallow-processing students (58%) spent little time on the text or diagram during their first-pass and second-pass reading, and they also seldom engage in saccade behavior. Words-dominated students (12%) spend a long time reading the text during the first-pass reading. Diagram-dominated students (9%) spent considerable time and effort on diagrams during the first-pass reading, and outperformed the other three groups in the reading comprehension test. Students who were proficient at using diagram information could distinguish the importance of various types of science diagrams; they also spent much mental effort on the explanatory diagram compared with the representational diagram. A multiple regression analysis indicated first-pass total fixation durations on the diagram predicted reading comprehension performance.
Jolie R Keemink; Maryam J Keshavarzi-Pour; David J Kelly
In: Developmental Psychology, 55 (7), pp. 1362–1371, 2019.
Face scanning is an important skill that takes place in a highly interactive context embedded within social interaction. However, previous research has studied face scanning using noninteractive stimuli. We aimed to study face scanning and social interaction in infancy in a more ecologically valid way by providing infants with a naturalistic and socially engaging experience. We developed a novel gazecontingent eye-tracking paradigm in which infants could interact with face stimuli. Responses (socially engaging/socially disengaging) from faces were contingent on infants' eye movements. We collected eye-tracking and behavioral data of 162 (79 male, 83 female) 6-, 9- and 12-month-old infants. All infants showed a clear preference for looking at the eyes relative to the mouth. Contingency was learned implicitly, and infants were more likely to show behavioral responses (e.g., smiling, pointing) when receiving socially engaging responses. Infants' responses were also more often congruent with the actors' responses. Additionally, our large sample allowed us to look at the ranges of behavior on our task, and we identified a small number of infants who displayed deviant behaviors. We discuss these findings in relation to data collected from a small sample (N = 11) of infants considered to be at-risk for autism spectrum disorders. Our results demonstrate the versatility of the gaze-contingency eye-tracking paradigm, allowing for a more nuanced and complex investigation of face scanning as it happens in real-life interaction. As we provide additional measures of contingency learning and reciprocity, our task holds the potential to investigate atypical neurodevelopment within the first year of life.
Krista R Kelly; Christina S Cheng-Patel; Reed M Jost; Yi Zhong Wang; Eileen E Birch
In: Experimental Eye Research, 183 , pp. 29–37, 2019.
Purpose: Strabismus or anisometropia disrupts binocularity and results in fixation instability, which is increased with amblyopia. Fixation instability has typically been assessed for each eye individually. Recently, vergence instability was reported in exotropic adults and monkeys during binocular viewing. We evaluated fixation instability during binocular viewing in children treated for anisometropia and/or strabismus. Methods: 160 children age 4–12 years with treated esotropia and/or anisometropia (98 amblyopic, 62 nonamblyopic) were compared to 46 age-similar controls. Fixation instability was recorded during binocular fixation of a 0.3 deg diameter dot for 20 s using a 500 Hz remote video binocular eye tracker (EyeLink 1000; SR Research). The bivariate contour ellipse area (BCEA; log deg2) for fixation instability was calculated for each eye (nonpreferred, preferred) and for vergence instability (left eye position – right eye position). Best-corrected visual acuity, Randot Preschool stereoacuity, and extent of suppression scotoma (Worth 4-Dot) were also obtained. Results: When binocularly viewing, both amblyopic and nonamblyopic children treated for anisometropia and/or strabismus had larger fixation instability and vergence instability than controls. Amblyopia primarily added to the instability of the nonpreferred eye. Anisometropic children had less nonpreferred eye instability and vergence instability than those with strabismus or combined mechanism. Nonpreferred eye instability and vergence instability were related to poorer stereoacuity and a larger suppression scotoma. Preferred eye instability was not related to any visual outcome measure. No relationships were found with visual acuity. Conclusions: Fixation instability and vergence instability during binocular viewing suggests that discordant binocular visual experience during childhood, especially strabismus, interferes with ocular motor development. Amblyopia adds to instability of the nonpreferred eye. Vergence instability may limit potential for recovery of binocular vision in these children.
Young-Suk Grace Kim; Yaacov Petscher; Christian Vorstius
In: Contemporary Educational Psychology, 58 , pp. 102–120, 2019.
Our understanding about the developmental similarities and differences between oral and silent reading and their relations to reading proficiency (word reading and reading comprehension) in beginning readers is limited. To fill this gap, we investigated 368 first graders' oral and silent reading using eye-tracking technology at the beginning and end of the school year. Oral reading took a longer time (greater rereading times and refixations) than silent reading, but showed greater development (greater reduction in rereading times and fixations) from the beginning to the end of the year. The relation of eye-movement behaviors to reading proficiency was such that, for example, less rereading time was positively related to reading proficiency, and the relation was stronger in oral reading than in silent reading. Moreover, the nature of relations between eye movements and reading skill varied as a function of the child's reading proficiency such that the relations were weaker for poor readers, particularly at the beginning of the year. The relations between eye movements and reading proficiency stabilized in the spring for children whose reading skill was 0.30 quantile and above, but weaker relations remained for readers below 0.30 quantile. These findings suggest the importance of examining eye-movement behaviors in both oral and silent reading modes and their developmental relations to reading proficiency.
Amelia K Lewis; Melanie A Porter; Tracey A Williams; Samantha Bzishvili; Kathryn N North; Jonathan M Payne
In: Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 61 (2), pp. 174–180, 2019.
Aim: To examine visual attention to faces within social scenes in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and typically developing peers. Method: Using eye-tracking technology we investigated the time taken to fixate on a face and the percentage of time spent attending to faces relative to the rest of the screen within social scenes in 24 children with NF1 (17 females, seven males; mean age 10y 4mo [SD 1y 9mo]). Results were compared with those of 24 age-matched typically developing controls (11 females, 13 males; mean age 10y 3mo [SD 2y]). Results: There was no significant between-group differences in time taken to initially fixate on a face (p=0.617); however, children with NF1 spent less time attending to faces within scenes than controls (p=0.048). Decreased attention to faces was associated with elevated autism traits in children with NF1. Interpretation: Children with NF1 spend less time attending to faces than typically developing children when presented in social scenes. Our findings contribute to a growing body of literature suggesting that abnormal face processing is a key aspect of the social-cognitive phenotype of NF1 and appears to be related to autism spectrum disorder traits. Clinicians should consider the impact of reduced attention to faces when designing and implementing treatment programmes for social dysfunction in this population.
Sha Li; Laurien Oliver-Mighten; Lin Li; Sarah J White; Kevin B Paterson; Jingxin Wang; Kayleigh L Warrington; Victoria A McGowan
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 9 (JAN), pp. 1–12, 2019.
Large-scale changes in text spacing, such as removing the spaces between words, disrupt reading more for older (65+ years) than younger (18-30 years) adults. However, it is unknown whether older readers show greater sensitivity to simultaneous subtle changes in inter-letter and inter-word spacing encountered in everyday reading. To investigate this, we recorded young and older adults' eye movements while reading sentences in which inter-letter and inter-word spacing was normal, condensed (10 and 20% smaller than normal), or expanded (10 or 20% larger than normal). Each sentence included either a high or low frequency target word, matched for length and contextual predictability. Condensing but not expanding text spacing disrupted reading more for the older adults. Moreover, word frequency effects (the reading time cost for low compared to high frequency words) were larger for the older adults, consistent with aging effects on lexical processing in previous research. However, this age difference in the word frequency effect did not vary across spacing conditions, suggesting spacing did not further disrupt older readers' lexical processing. We conclude that visual rather than lexical processing is disrupted more for older readers when text spacing is condensed and discuss this finding in relation to common age-related visual deficits.
Scott P Ardoin; Katherine S Binder; Andrea M Zawoyski; Eloise Nimocks; Tori E Foster
In: Reading Research Quarterly, 54 (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.
Stéphanie Bellocchi; Delphine Massendari; Jonathan Grainger; Stéphanie Ducrot
In: Child Neuropsychology, 25 (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.
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.
Jürgen Cholewa; Isabel Neitzel; Annika Bürsgens; Thomas Günther
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 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.
Yong Qi Cong; Caroline Junge; Evin Aktar; Maartje Raijmakers; Anna Franklin; Disa Sauter
In: Cognition and Emotion, 33 (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.
Claudia Damiano; Dirk B Walther
In: Cognition, 184 , pp. 119–129, 2019.
A long line of research has shown that vision and memory are closely linked, such that particular eye movement behaviour aids memory performance. In two experiments, we ask whether the positive influence of eye movements on memory is primarily a result of overt visual exploration during the encoding or the recognition phase. Experiment 1 allowed participants to free-view images of scenes, followed by a new-old recognition memory task. Exploratory analyses found that eye movements during study were predictive of subsequent memory performance. Importantly, intrinsic image memorability does not explain this finding. Eye movements during test were only predictive of memory within the first 600 ms of the trial. To examine whether this relationship between eye movements and memory is causal, Experiment 2 manipulated participants' ability to make eye movements during either study or test in a new-old recognition task. Participants were either encouraged to freely explore the scene in both the study and test phases, or had to refrain from making eye movements in either the test phase, the study phase, or both. We found that hit rate was significantly higher when participants moved their eyes during the study phase, regardless of what they did in the test phase. False alarm rate, on the other hand, was affected only by eye movements during the test phase: it decreased when participants were encouraged to explore the scene. Taken together, these results reveal a dissociation of the role of eye movements during the encoding and recognition of scenes. Eye movements during study are instrumental in forming memories, and eye movements during recognition support the judgment of memory veracity.
Roberto G de Almeida; Julia Di Nardo; Caitlyn Antal; Michael W von Grünau
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 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.
Maria De Luca; Maria Rosa Pizzamiglio; Antonella Di Vita; Liana Palermo; Antonio Tanzilli; Claudia Dacquino; Laura Piccardi
In: Neuropsychology, 33 (6), pp. 855–861, 2019.
Objective: To contribute to the limited body of eye movement (EM) studies of children and family members with congenital prosopagnosia (CP), a task requiring a verbal response for the identification of personally familiar faces was used for the 1st time. Method: EMs were recorded in a father and his son (both diagnosed with CP) and controls (N = 2). In the identification tasks they watched personally familiar faces and distracters and responded by saying the names of the familiar faces or saying "I don't know." Two discrimination tasks were added to distinguish the specificity of the EM pattern for the recognition tasks. In all tasks, faces were presented 1 by 1 until the response onset; thus, the EM pattern was not saturated by overexposure to the stimulus. The 1st fixation position was examined to localize the 1st area of the face attended to. The spatial-temporal fixation pattern was examined to evaluate the attention devoted to specific regions. Results: Both family members were inaccurate and slower than controls in the identification but not the discrimination tasks. In all tasks, they made a number of fixations comparable to those of controls but showed longer fixation durations than controls did. In the identification tasks, they showed poor spatial-temporal distribution of fixations on the eyes and rare 1st fixations on the eyes. Conclusions: Consistent with the literature, both family members showed the typical reduced sampling of the eyes. Nevertheless, our protocol based on explicit verbal responses (which included EM only until response onset) showed that they did not increase the spatial sampling overall by making more fixations than controls did. Instead, they showed longer fixation durations across tasks; this was interpreted as a generalized problem with face processing in affording a more robust sampling of information.
Reuben K Dyer; Larry A Abel
In: Experimental Eye Research, 183 , pp. 46–51, 2019.
Introduction: The utility of optokinetic nystagmus suppression as an index of visual attention has been demonstrated; however, a gap exists in our understanding of the effects of aging on attentional division. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of a subject's age upon their ability to allocate visual attention among multiple salient elements which varied in location and complexity. Method: Large-field optokinetic nystagmus (OKN)-inducing animations were presented along with a central flashing fixation point to 27 subjects: 15 younger adults (range 19–23, mean age 21.4); and 12 older adults (range 65–89, mean age 74). Subjects were instructed to fixate on a central point while attending to either moving features of the background or solely to the fixation target. Failure of subjects to accurately divide their attention was quantified by optokinetic gain (eye velocity/background velocity). Gain was analysed in two separate 3-way ANOVAs: one at the central location with the between-subjects variable of age and within-subjects variables of complexity and dynamism; and one using only the dynamic tasks, including a between-subjects variable of age and within-subjects variables of complexity and location. Results: A strong effect of age was found between subjects during the more attentionally demanding dynamic tasks, but there was only a marginal effect during the static tasks. All within-subjects variables were highly significant, and there were several significant 2- and 3-way interactions. Conclusion: This study provides strong evidence for the compounding effects of senescence and stimulus characteristics on an adult's ability to accurately allocate visual attention. These findings show that OKN suppression may be a useful framework for quantification of attentional resources in older subjects.
Sarah Eilers; Simon P Tiffin-Richards; Sascha Schroeder
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72 (3), pp. 403–412, 2019.
We report data from an eye tracking experiment on the repeated name penalty effect in 9-year-old children and young adults. The repeated name penalty effect is informative for the study of children's reading because it allows conclusions about children's ability to direct attention to discourse-level processing cues during reading. We presented children and adults simple three-sentence stories with a single referent, which was referred to by an anaphor—either a pronoun or a repeated name—downstream in the text. The anaphor was either near or far from the antecedent. We found a repeated name penalty effect in early processing for children as well as adults, suggesting that beginning readers are already susceptible to discourse-level expectations of anaphora during reading. Furthermore, children's reading was more influenced by the distance of anaphor and antecedent than adults', which we attribute to differences in reading fluency and the resulting cognitive load during reading.
Sarah Eilers; Simon P Tiffin-Richards; Sascha Schroeder
In: Scientific Studies of Reading, 23 (6), pp. 509–522, 2019.
Children struggle with the resolution of pronouns during reading, but little is known about the sources of their difficulties. We conducted a longitudinal eye tracking experiment with 70 children in the final years of primary school. The children read sentences with a contextual resolution preference in which gender was either an informative resolution cue for the pronoun or not. We were interested in children's processing of the pronoun and their resolution preferences, as well as the effects of individual differences of Grade level and reading skill. Children's resolution ability improved with age, and good readers were more accurate than poor readers. In the eye-tracking measures, we found strong individual differences related to reading skill: Children with good reading skill took more time to read the pronoun region when pronoun gender was informative, suggesting that good readers make better use of the available information at the pronoun than poor readers.
Mengjiao Fan; Thomson W L Wong
In: Alzheimer's, Dementia & Cognitive Neurology, 2 (2), pp. 1–6, 2019.
This study aims to investigate the effect of errorless motor training on visuomotor behaviors among older adults. We recruited 29 eligible older adults (Mean age = 71.56 years
Marianna Stella; Paul E Engelhardt
In: Dyslexia, 25 (2), pp. 115–141, 2019.
This study examined eye movements and comprehension of temporary syntactic ambiguities in individuals with dyslexia, as few studies have focused on sentence-level comprehension in dyslexia. We tested 50 participants with dyslexia and 50 typically developing controls, in order to investigate (a) whether dyslexics have difficulty revising temporary syntactic misinterpretations and (b) underlying cognitive factors (i.e., working memory and processing speed) associated with eye movement differences and comprehension failures. In the sentence comprehension task, participants read subordinate-main structures that were either ambiguous or unambiguous, and we also manipulated the type of verb contained in the subordinate clause (i.e., reflexive or optionally transitive). Results showed a main effect of group on comprehension, in which individuals with dyslexia showed poorer comprehension than typically developing readers. In addition, participants with dyslexia showed longer total reading times on the disambiguating region of syntactically ambiguous sentences. With respect to cognitive factors, working memory was more associated with group differences than was processing speed. Conclusions focus on sentence-level syntactic processing issues in dyslexia (a previously under-researched area) and the relationship between online and offline measures of syntactic ambiguity resolution.
Gil Suzin; Ramit Ravona-springer; Elissa L Ash; Eddy J Davelaar; Marius Usher
In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 11 , pp. 1–10, 2019.
Associative processes, such as the encoding of associations between words in a list, can enhance episodic memory performance and are thought to deteriorate with age. Here, we examine the nature of age-related deficits in the encoding of associations, by using a free recall paradigm with visual arrays of objects. Fifty-five participants (26 young students; 20 cognitive healthy older adults; nine patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment, MCI) were shown multiple slides (experimental trials), each containing an array of nine common objects for recall. Most of the arrays contained three objects from three semantic categories, each. In the remaining arrays, the nine objects were unrelated. Eye fixations were also monitored during the viewing of the arrays, in a subset of the participants. While for young participants the immediate recall was higher for the semantically related arrays, this effect was diminished in healthy elderly and totally absent in MCI patients. Furthermore, only in the young group did the sequence of eye fixations show a semantic scanning pattern during encoding, even when the related objects were non- adjacent in the array. Healthy elderly and MCI patients were not influenced by the semantic relatedness of items during the array encoding, to the same extent as young subjects, as observed by a lack of (or reduced) semantic scanning. The results support a version of the encoding of the association aging-deficit hypothesis.
Sabrina E Twilhaar; Jorrit F de Kieviet; Catharina E Bergwerff; Martijn J J Finken; Ruurd M van Elburg; Jaap Oosterlaan
In: Journal of Pediatrics, 213 , pp. 66–73, 2019.
Objective: To increase the understanding of social adjustment and autism spectrum disorder symptoms in adolescents born very preterm by studying the role of emotion recognition and cognitive control processes in the relation between very preterm birth and social adjustment. Study design: A Dutch cohort of 61 very preterm and 61 full-term adolescents aged 13 years participated. Social adjustment was rated by parents, teachers, and adolescents and autism spectrum disorder symptoms by parents. Emotion recognition was assessed with a computerized task including pictures of child faces expressing anger, fear, sadness, and happiness with varying intensity. Cognitive control was assessed using a visuospatial span, antisaccade, and sustained attention to response task. Performance measures derived from these tasks served as indicators of a latent cognitive control construct, which was tested using confirmatory factor analysis. Mediation analyses were conducted with emotion recognition and cognitive control as mediators of the relation between very preterm birth and social problems. Results: Very preterm adolescents showed more parent- and teacher-rated social problems and increased autism spectrum disorder symptomatology than controls. No difference in self-reported social problems was observed. Moreover, very preterm adolescents showed deficits in emotion recognition and cognitive control compared with full-term adolescents. The relation between very preterm birth and parent-rated social problems was significantly mediated by cognitive control but not by emotion recognition. Very preterm birth was associated with a 0.67-SD increase in parent-rated social problems through its negative effect on cognitive control. Conclusions: The present findings provide strong evidence for a central role of impaired cognitive control in the social problems of adolescents born very preterm.
Daan R van Renswoude; Ingmar Visser; Maartje E J Raijmakers; Tawny Tsang; Scott P Johnson
In: Infancy, 24 , pp. 693–717, 2019.
The foci of visual attention were modeled as a function of perceptual salience, adult fixation locations, and attentional control mechanisms (measured in separate tasks) in infants (N = 45, 3-to 15-month-olds) as they viewed static real-world scenes. After controlling for the center bias, the results showed that low-level perceptual salience predicts where infants look. In addition, high-level factors also played a role: Infants fix-ated parts of the scenes frequently fixated by adults and this effect was stronger for older than younger infants. In line with this finding, infant fixation durations were longer on regions more frequently fixated by adults, implying longer time taken to process the available information. Fixation durations decreased with age, and this decline interacted with orienting skills such that fixation durations decreased faster with age for infants with high orienting skills, relative to infants with low orienting skills. There was a further interaction between fixa-tion durations and selective attention abilities: Infants with low selective attention skills showed a decrease in fixation durations with age, whereas infants with higher selective attention skills showed a slight increase in fixation durations with age. These findings imply that infants' visual processing of static real-world stimuli develops in accord with attentional control.
Daan R van Renswoude; Linda van den Berg; Maartje E J Raijmakers; Ingmar Visser
Infants' center bias in free viewing of real-world scenes Journal Article
In: Vision Research, 154 , pp. 44–53, 2019.
This study examines how salience and a center bias drive infants' first fixation while looking at complex scenes. Adults are known to have a strong center bias, their first point of gaze is nearly always in the center of the scene. The center bias is likely to be a strategic bias, as looking towards the center minimizes the distance to other parts of the scene and important objects are often located at the center. In an experimental design varying salience regions of scenes and start positions we examined infants' (N = 48
Paula Vieweg; Martin Riemer; David Berron; Thomas Wolbers
In: Hippocampus, 29 (4), pp. 340–351, 2019.
For memory retrieval, pattern completion is a crucial process that restores memories from partial or degraded cues. Neurocognitive aging models suggest that the aged memory system is biased toward pattern completion, resulting in a behavioral preference for retrieval over encoding of memories. Here, we built on our previously developed behavioral recognition memory paradigm—the Memory Image Completion (MIC) task—a task to specifically target pattern completion. First, we used the original design with concurrent eye-tracking in order to rule out perceptual confounds that could interact with recognition performance. Second, we developed parallel versions of the task to accommodate test settings in clinical environments or longitudinal studies. The results show that older adults have a deficit in pattern completion ability with a concurrent bias toward pattern completion. Importantly, eye-tracking data during encoding could not account for age-related performance differences. At retrieval, spatial viewing patterns for both age groups were more driven by stimulus identity than by response choice, but compared to young adults, older adults' fixation patterns overlapped more between stimuli that they (wrongly) thought had the same identity. This supports the observation that older adults choose responses perceived as similar to a learned stimulus, indicating a bias toward pattern completion. Additionally, two shorter versions of the task yielded comparable results, and no general learning effects were observed for repeated testing. Together, we present evidence that the MIC is a reliable behavioral task that targets pattern completion, that is easily and repeatedly applicable, and that is made freely available online.
Kayleigh L Warrington; Victoria A McGowan; Kevin B Paterson; Sarah J White
In: Psychology and Aging, 34 (4), pp. 598–612, 2019.
It is well-established that young adults encode letter position flexibly during natural reading. However, given the visual changes that occur with normal aging, it is important to establish whether letter position coding is equivalent across adulthood. In 2 experiments, young (18-25 years) and older (65+ years) adults' were recorded while reading sentences with words containing transposed adjacent letters. Transpositions occurred at beginning (rpoblem), internal (porblem), or end (problme) locations in words. In Experiment 1, these transpositions were present throughout reading. By comparison, Experiment 2 used a gaze-contingent paradigm such that once the reader's gaze moved past a word containing a transposition, this word was shown correctly and did not subsequently change. Both age groups showed normal levels of comprehension for text including words with transposed letters. The pattern of letter transposition effects on eye movements was similar for the young and older adults, with greater increases in reading times when external relative to internal letters were transposed. In Experiment 1, however, effects of word beginning transpositions during rereading were larger for the older adults. In Experiment 2 there were no interactions, confirming that letter position coding is similar for both age groups at least during first-pass processing of words. These findings show that flexibility in letter position encoding during the initial processing of words is preserved across adulthood, although the interaction effect in rereading in Experiment 1 also suggests that older readers may use more stringent postlexical verification processes, for which the accuracy of word beginning letters is especially important.
Kayleigh L Warrington; Fang Xie; Jingxin Wang; Kevin B Paterson
Aging effects on the visual span for alphabetic stimuli Journal Article
In: Experimental Aging Research, 45 (5), pp. 387–399, 2019.
Background: The visual span (i.e., an estimate of the number of letters that can be recognized reliably on a single glance) is widely considered to impose an important sensory limitation on reading speed. With the present research, we investigated adult age differences in the visual span for alphabetic stimuli (i.e., Latin alphabetic letters), as aging effects on span size may make an important contribution to slower reading speeds in older adulthood. Method: A trigram task, in which sets of three letters were displayed randomly at specified locations to the right and left of a central fixation point, was used to estimate the size of the visual span for young (18–30 years) and older (65+years) adults while an eye tracker was used to ensure accurate central fixation during stimulus presentation. Participants also completed tests of visual acuity and visual crowding. Results: There were clear age differences in the size of the visual span. The older adults produced visual spans which were on average 1.2 letters smaller than the spans of young adults. However, both young and older adults produced spans smaller than those previously reported. In addition, span size correlated with measures of both visual acuity and measures of visual crowding. Conclusion: The findings show that the size of the visual span is smaller for older compared to young adults. The age-related reduction in span size is relatively small but may make a significant contribution to reduced parafoveal processing during natural reading so may play a role in the greater difficulty experienced by older adult readers. Moreover, these results highlight the importance of carefully controlling fixation location in visual span experiments.
Stephanie Wermelinger; Anja Gampe; Moritz M Daum
In: Psychological Research, 83 (1), pp. 116–131, 2019.
Successful social interaction relies on the interaction partners' perception, anticipation and understanding of their respective actions. The perception of a particular action and the capability to produce this action share a common representational ground. So far, no study has explored the interrelation between action perception and production across the life span using the same tasks and the same measurement techniques. This study was designed to fill this gap. Participants between 3 and 80 years (N = 214) observed two multistep actions of different familiarities and then reproduced the according actions. Using eye tracking, we measured participants' action perception via their prediction of action goals during observation. To capture subtler perceptual processes, we additionally analysed the dynamics and recurrent patterns within participants' gaze behaviour. Action production was assessed via the accuracy of the participants' reproduction of the observed actions. No age-related differences were found for the perception of the familiar action, where participants of all ages could rely on previous experience. In the unfamiliar action, where participants had less experience, action goals were predicted more frequently with increasing age. The recurrence in participants' gaze behaviour was related to both, age and action production: gaze behaviour was more recurrent (i.e. less flexible) in very young and very old participants, and lower levels of recurrence (i.e. greater flexibility) were related to higher scores in action production across participants. Incorporating a life-span perspective, this study illustrates the dynamic nature of developmental differences in the associations of action production with action perception.
Stephanie Wermelinger; Anja Gampe; Moritz M Daum
In: Psychological Research, 83 (3), pp. 432–444, 2019.
Action perception and action production are tightly linked and elicit bi-directional influences on each other when performed simultaneously. In this study, we investigated whether age-related differences in manual fine-motor competence and/or age affect the (interfering) influence of action production on simultaneous action perception. In a cross-sectional eye-tracking study, participants of a broad age range (N = 181, 20–80 years) observed a manual grasp-and-transport action while performing an additional motor or cognitive distractor task. Action perception was measured via participants' frequency of anticipatory gaze shifts towards the action goal. Manual fine-motor competence was assessed with the Motor Performance Series. The interference effect in action perception was greater in the motor than the cognitive distractor task. Furthermore, manual fine-motor competence and age in years were both associated with this interference. The better the participants' manual fine-motor competence and the younger they were, the smaller the interference effect. However, when both influencing factors (age and fine-motor competence) were taken into account, a model including only age-related differences in manual fine-motor competence best fit with our data. These results add to the existing literature that motor competence and its age-related differences influence the interference effects between action perception and production.
Veronica Whitford; Debra Titone
In: Bilingualism, 22 (1), pp. 58–77, 2019.
We used eye movement measures of paragraph reading to examine whether two consequences of bilingualism, namely, reduced lexical entrenchment (i.e., reduced lexical quality and accessibility arising from less absolute language experience) and cross-language activation (i.e., simultaneous co-activation of target- and non-target-language lexical representations) interact during word processing in bilingual younger and older adults. Specifically, we focused on the interaction between word frequency (a predictor of lexical entrenchment) and cross-language neighborhood density (a predictor of cross-language activation) during first- and second-language reading. Across both languages and both age groups, greater cross-language (and within-language) neighborhood density facilitated word processing, indexed by smaller word frequency effects. Moreover, word frequency effects and, to a lesser extent, cross-language neighborhood density effects were larger in older versus younger adults, potentially reflecting age-related changes in lexical accessibility and cognitive control. Thus, lexical entrenchment and cross-language activation multiplicatively influence bilingual word processing across the adult lifespan.
Michael T Willoughby; Benjamin Piper; Dunston Kwayumba; Megan McCune
Measuring executive function skills in young children in Kenya Journal Article
In: Child Neuropsychology, 25 (4), pp. 425–444, 2019.
Interest in measuring executive function skills in young children in low- and middle-income country contexts has been stymied by the lack of assessments that are both easy to deploy and scalable. This study reports on an initial effort to develop a tablet-based battery of executive function tasks, which were designed and extensively studied in the United States, for use in Kenya. Participants were 193 children, aged 3–6 years old, who attended early childhood development and education centers. The rates of individual task completion were high (65–100%), and 85% of children completed three or more tasks. Assessors indicated that 90% of all task administrations were of acceptable quality. An executive function composite score was approximately normally distributed, despite higher-than-expected floor and ceiling effects on inhibitory control tasks. Children's simple reaction time ($beta$ = –0.20, p = .004), attention-related behaviors during testing ($beta$ = 0.24, p = .0005), and age ($beta$ = –0.24, p = .0009) were all uniquely related to performance on the executive function composite. Results are discussed as they inform efforts to develop valid and reliable measures of executive function skills among young children in developing country contexts.
Angele Yazbec; Michael P Kaschak; Arielle Borovsky
In: Cognitive Science, 43 (1), pp. 1–41, 2019.
Children and adults use established global knowledge to generate real-time linguistic predictions, but less is known about how listeners generate predictions in circumstances that semantically conflict with long-standing event knowledge. We explore these issues in adults and 5- to 10-year-old children using an eye-tracked sentence comprehension task that tests real-time activation of unexpected events that had been previously encountered in brief stories. Adults generated predictions for these previously unexpected events based on these discourse cues alone, whereas children overall did not override their established global knowledge to generate expectations for semantically conflicting material; however, they do show an increased ability to integrate discourse cues to generate appropriate predictions for sentential endings. These results indicate that the ability to rapidly integrate and deploy semantically conflicting knowledge has a long developmental trajectory, with adult-like patterns not emerging until later in childhood.
Lok-Kin Yeung; Rosanna K Olsen; Bryan Hong; Valentina Mihajlovic; Maria C D'Angelo; Arber Kacollja; Jennifer D Ryan; Morgan D Barense
In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 31 (5), pp. 711–729, 2019.
The lateral portion of the entorhinal cortex is one of the first brain regions affected by tau pathology, an important biomarker for Alzheimer disease. Improving our understanding of this region's cognitive role may help identify better cognitive tests for early detection of Alzheimer disease. Based on its functional connections, we tested the idea that the human anterolateral entorhinal cortex (alERC) may play a role in integrating spatial information into object representations. We recently demonstrated that the volume of the alERC was related to processing the spatial relationships of the features within an object [Yeung, L. K., Olsen, R. K., Bild-Enkin, H. E. P., D'Angelo, M. C., Kacollja, A., McQuiggan, D. A., et al. Anterolateral entorhinal cortex volume predicted by altered intra-item configural processing. Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 5527–5538, 2017]. In this study, we investi- gated whether the human alERC might also play a role in processing the spatial relationships between an object and its environment using an eye-tracking task that assessed visual fixations to a critical object within a scene. Guided by rodent work, we measured both object-in-place memory, the association of an object with a given context [Wilson, D. I., Langston, R. F., Schlesiger, M. I., Wagner, M., Watanabe, S., & Ainge, J. A. Lateral entorhinal cortex is critical for novel object-context recog- nition. Hippocampus, 23,352–366, 2013], and object-trace memory, the memory for the former location of objects [Tsao, A., Moser, M. B., & Moser, E. I. Traces of experience in the lateral entorhinal cortex. Current Biology, 23,399–405, 2013]. In a group of older adults with varying stages of brain atrophy and cognitive decline, we found that the volume of the alERC and the volume of the parahippocampal cortex selectively predicted object-in-place memory, but not object-trace memory. These results provide support for the notion that the alERC may integrate spatial information into object representations.
Andrea M Zawoyski; Scott P Ardoin
In: School Psychology Review, 48 (4), pp. 320–332, 2019.
Reading comprehension assessments often include multiple-choice (MC) questions, but some researchers doubt their validity in measuring comprehension. Consequently, new assessments may include more short-answer (SA) questions. The current study contributes to the research comparing MC and SA questions by evaluating the effects of anticipated question format on elementary students' reading behavior. Third- and fourth-grade participants were divided into the MC (n = 43) or SA condition (n = 44) and expected to answer questions consistent with their group assignment. Eye movements (EMs) were analyzed across the passage and on areas significant to its meaning. Correlational analyses between EMs and reading measures were conducted. Findings support modification of question format in reading assessments. Implications for school psychologists, teachers, and EM researchers are addressed.
Chen Zhang; Angelina Paolozza; Po He Tseng; James N Reynolds; Douglas P Munoz; Laurent Itti
In: Frontiers in Neurology, 10 (FEB), pp. 1–15, 2019.
Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is one of the most common causes of developmental disabilities and neurobehavioral deficits. Despite the high-prevalence of FASD, the current diagnostic process is challenging and time- and money-consuming, with underreported profiles of the neurocognitive and neurobehavioral impairments because of limited clinical capacity. We assessed children/youth with FASD from a multimodal perspective and developed a high-performing, low-cost screening protocol using a machine learning framework. Methods and Findings: Participants with FASD and age-matched typically developing controls completed up to six assessments, including saccadic eye movement tasks (prosaccade, antisaccade, and memory-guided saccade), free viewing of videos, psychometric tests, and neuroimaging of the corpus callosum. We comparatively investigated new machine learning methods applied to these data, toward the acquisition of a quantitative signature of the neurodevelopmental deficits, and the development of an objective, high-throughput screening tool to identify children/youth with FASD. Our method provides a comprehensive profile of distinct measures in domains including sensorimotor and visuospatial control, visual perception, attention, inhibition, working memory, academic functions, and brain structure. We also showed that a combination of four to six assessments yields the best FASD vs. control classification accuracy; however, this protocol is expensive and time consuming. We conducted a cost/benefit analysis of the six assessments and developed a high-performing, low-cost screening protocol based on a subset of eye movement and psychometric tests that approached the best result under a range of constraints (time, cost, participant age, required administration, and access to neuroimaging facility). Using insights from the theory of value of information, we proposed an optimal annual screening procedure for children at risk of FASD. Conclusions: We developed a high-capacity, low-cost screening procedure under constrains, with high expected monetary benefit, substantial impact of the referral and diagnostic process, and expected maximized long-term benefits to the tested individuals and to society. This annual screening procedure for children/youth at risk of FASD can be easily and widely deployed for early identification, potentially leading to earlier intervention and treatment. This is crucial for neurodevelopmental disorders, to mitigate the severity of the disorder and/or frequency of secondary comorbidities.
Xiaoxian Zhang; Wanlu Fu; Licheng Xue; Jing Zhao; Zhiguo Wang
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 10 , pp. 1–9, 2019.
Mathematical learning difficulties (MLD) refer to a variety of deficits in math skills, typically pertaining to the domains of arithmetic and problem solving. The present study examined the time course of attentional orienting in MLD children with a spatial cueing task, by parametrically manipulating the cue-target onset asynchrony (CTOA). The results of Experiment 1 revealed that, in contrast to typical developing children, the inhibitory aftereffect of attentional orienting-frequently referred to as inhibition of return (IOR)-was not observed in the MLD children, even at the longest CTOA tested (800 ms). However, robust early facilitation effects were observed in the MLD children, suggesting that they have difficulties in attentional disengagement rather than attentional engagement. In a second experiment, a secondary cue was introduced to the cueing task to encourage attentional disengagement and IOR effects were observed in the MLD children. Taken together, the present experiments indicate that MLD children are sluggish in disengaging spatial attention.
Sijia Zhao; Gabriela Bury; Alice Milne; Maria Chait
In: Trends in Hearing, 23 , 2019.
The ability to sustain attention on a task-relevant sound-source whilst avoiding distraction from other concurrent sounds is fundamental to listening in crowded environments. To isolate this aspect of hearing we designed a paradigm that continuously measured behavioural and pupillometry responses during 25-second-long trials in young (18-35 yo) and older (63-79 yo) participants. The auditory stimuli consisted of a number (1, 2 or 3) of concurrent, spectrally distinct tone streams. On each trial, participants detected brief silent gaps in one of the streams whilst resisting distraction from the others. Behavioural performance demonstrated increasing difficulty with time-on-task and with number/proximity of distractor streams. In young listeners (N=20), pupillometry revealed that pupil diameter (on the group and individual level) was dynamically modulated by instantaneous task difficulty such that periods where behavioural performance revealed a strain on sustained attention, were also accompanied by increased pupil diameter. Only trials on which participants performed successfully were included in the pupillometry analysis. Therefore, the observed effects reflect consequences of task demands as opposed to failure to attend.In line with existing reports, we observed global changes to pupil dynamics in the older group, including decreased pupil diameter, a limited dilation range, and reduced temporal variability. However, despite these changes, the older group showed similar effects of attentive tracking to those observed in the younger listeners. Overall, our results demonstrate that pupillometry can be a reliable and time-sensitive measure of the effort associated with attentive tracking over long durations in both young and (with some caveats) older listeners.
Peng Zhou; Likan Zhan; Huimin Ma
In: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 48 (2), pp. 431–452, 2019.
Sentence comprehension relies on the abilities to rapidly integrate different types of linguistic and non-linguistic information. The present study investigated whether Mandarin-speaking preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are able to use verb information predictively to anticipate the upcoming linguistic input during real-time sentence comprehension. 26 five-year-olds with ASD, 25 typically developing (TD) five-year-olds and 24 TD four-year-olds were tested using the visual world eye-tracking paradigm. The results showed that the 5-year-olds with ASD, like their TD peers, exhibited verb-based anticipatory eye movements during real-time sentence comprehension. No difference was observed between the ASD and TD groups in the time course of their eye gaze patterns, indicating that Mandarin-speaking preschool children with ASD are able to use verb information as effectively and rapidly as TD peers to predict the upcoming linguistic input.
Otto Loberg; Jarkko Hautala; Jarmo A Hämäläinen; Paavo H T Leppänen
In: Vision Research, 165 , pp. 109–122, 2019.
Word length is one of the main determinants of eye movements during reading and has been shown to influence slow readers more strongly than typical readers. The influence of word length on reading in individuals with different reading skill levels has been shown in separate eye-tracking and electroencephalography studies. However, the influence of reading difficulty on cortical correlates of word length effect during natural reading is unknown. To investigate how reading skill is related to brain activity during natural reading, we performed an exploratory analysis on our data set from a previous study, where slow reading (N = 27) and typically reading (N = 65) 12-to-13.5-year-old children read sentences while co-registered ET-EEG was recorded. We extracted fixation-related potentials (FRPs) from the sentences using the linear deconvolution approach. We examined standard eye-movement variables and deconvoluted FRP estimates: intercept of the response, categorical effect of first fixation versus additional fixation and continuous effect of word length. We replicated the pattern of stronger word length effect in eye movements for slow readers. We found a difference between typical readers and slow readers in the FRP intercept, which contains activity that is common to all fixations, within a fixation time-window of 50–300 ms. For both groups, the word length effect was present in brain activity during additional fixations; however, this effect was not different between groups. This suggests that stronger word length effect in the eye movements of slow readers might be mainly due re-fixations, which are more probable due to the lower efficiency of visual processing.
Jana Lüdtke; Eva Fröhlich; Arthur M Jacobs; Florian Hutzler
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 10 (JULY), pp. 1–23, 2019.
Reading proficiency, i.e., successfully integrating early word-based information and utilizing this information in later processes of sentence and text comprehension, and its assessment is subject to extensive research. However, screening tests for German adults across the life span are basically non-existent. Therefore, the present article introduces a standardized computerized sentence-based screening measure for German adult readers to assess reading proficiency including norm data from 2,148 participants covering an age range from 16-88 years. The test was developed in accordance with the children's version of the Salzburger LeseScreening (SLS, Wimmer & Mayringer, 2014). The SLS-Berlin has a high reliability and can easily be implemented in any research setting using German language. We present a detailed description of the test and report the distribution of SLS-Berlin scores for the norm sample as well as for two subsamples of younger (below 60 years) and older adults (60 and older). For all three samples, we conducted regression analyses to investigate the relationship between sentence characteristics and SLS-Berlin scores. In a second validation study, SLS-Berlin scores were compared with two (pseudo)word reading tests, a test measuring attention and processing speed and eye-movements recorded during expository text reading. Our results confirm the SLS-Berlin's sensitivity to capture early word decoding and later text related comprehension processes. The test distinguished very well between skilled and less skilled readers and also within less skilled readers and is therefore a powerful and efficient screening test for German adults to assess interindividual levels of reading proficiency.
Iska Moxon-Emre; Norman A S Farb; Adeoye A Oyefiade; Eric Bouffet; Suzanne Laughlin; Jovanka Skocic; Cynthia B de Medeiros; Donald J Mabbott
In: NeuroImage: Clinical, 23 , pp. 1–19, 2019.
Facial emotion recognition (FER) deficits are evident and pervasive across neurodevelopmental, psychiatric, and acquired brain disorders in children, including children treated for brain tumours. Such deficits are thought to perpetuate challenges with social relationships and decrease quality of life. The present study combined eye-tracking, neuroimaging and cognitive assessments to evaluate if visual attention, brain structure, and general cognitive function contribute to FER in children treated for posterior fossa (PF) tumours (patients: n = 36) and typically developing children (controls: n = 18). To assess FER, all participants completed the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy (DANVA2), a computerized task that measures FER using photographs, while their eye-movements were recorded. Patients made more FER errors than controls (p textless .01). Although we detected subtle deficits in visual attention and general cognitive function in patients, we found no associations with FER. Compared to controls, patients had evidence of white matter (WM) damage, (i.e., lower fractional anisotropy [FA] and higher radial diffusivity [RD]), in multiple regions throughout the brain (all p textless .05), but not in specific WM tracts associated with FER. Despite the distributed WM differences between groups, WM predicted FER in controls only. In patients, factors associated with their disease and treatment predicted FER. Our study provides insight into predictors of FER that may be unique to children treated for PF tumours, and highlights a divergence in associations between brain structure and behavioural outcomes in clinical and typically developing populations; a concept that may be broadly applicable to other neurodevelopmental and clinical populations that experience FER deficits.
Marissa Ogren; Brianna Kaplan; Yujia Peng; Kerri L Johnson; Scott P Johnson
In: Infant Behavior and Development, 57 , pp. 1–11, 2019.
Infants' ability to discriminate emotional facial expressions and tones of voice is well-established, yet little is known about infant discrimination of emotional body movements. Here, we asked if 10–20-month-old infants rely on high-level emotional cues or low-level motion related cues when discriminating between emotional point-light displays (PLDs). In Study 1, infants viewed 18 pairs of angry, happy, sad, or neutral PLDs. Infants looked more at angry vs. neutral, happy vs. neutral, and neutral vs. sad. Motion analyses revealed that infants preferred the PLD with more total body movement in each pairing. Study 2, in which infants viewed inverted versions of the same pairings, yielded similar findings except for sad-neutral. Study 3 directly paired all three emotional stimuli in both orientations. The angry and happy stimuli did not significantly differ in terms of total motion, but both had more motion than the sad stimuli. Infants looked more at angry vs. sad, more at happy vs. sad, and about equally to angry vs. happy in both orientations. Again, therefore, infants preferred PLDs with more total body movement. Overall, the results indicate that a low-level motion preference may drive infants' discrimination of emotional human walking motions.
Jonathan F O'rawe; Anna S Huang; Daniel N Klein; Hoi-Chung Leung
In: Neuropsychologia, 127 , pp. 158–170, 2019.
Visual processing in the primate brain is highly organized along the ventral visual pathway, although it is still unclear how categorical selectivity emerges in this system. While many theories have attempted to explain the pattern of visual specialization within the ventral occipital and temporal areas, the biased connectivity hypothesis provides a framework which postulates extrinsic connectivity as a potential mechanism in shaping the development of category selectivity. As the posterior parietal cortex plays a central role in visual attention, we examined whether the pattern of parietal connectivity with the face and scene processing regions is closely linked with the functional properties of these two visually selective networks in a cohort of 60 children ages 9 to 12. Functionally localized face and scene selective regions were used in deriving each visual network's resting-state functional connectivity. The children's face and scene processing networks appeared to show a weak network segregation during resting state, which was confirmed when compared to that of a group of gender and handedness matched adults. Parietal regions of these children showed differential connectivity with the face and scene networks, and the extent of this differential parietal-visual connectivity predicted individual differences in the degree of segregation between the two visual networks, which in turn predicted individual differences in visual perception performance. Finally, the pattern of parietal connectivity with the face processing network also predicted the foci of face-related activation in the right fusiform gyrus across children. These findings provide evidence that extrinsic connectivity with regions such as the posterior parietal cortex may have important implications in the development of specialized visual processing networks.
Adam J Parker; Timothy J Slattery; Julie A Kirkby
Return-sweep saccades during reading in adults and children Journal Article
In: Vision Research, 155 , pp. 35–43, 2019.
During reading, eye movement patterns differ between children and adults. Children make more fixations that are longer in duration and make shorter saccades. Return-sweeps are saccadic eye movements that move a reader's fixation to a new line of text. Return-sweeps move fixation further than intra-line saccades and often undershoot their target. This necessitates a corrective saccade to bring fixation closer to the start of the line. There have been few empirical investigations of return-sweep saccades in adults, and even fewer in children. In the present study, we examined return-sweeps of 47 adults and 48 children who read identical multiline texts. We found that children launch their return-sweeps closer to the end of the line and target a position closer to the left margin. Therefore, children fixate more extreme positions on the screen when reading for comprehension. Furthermore, children required a corrective saccade following a return-sweep more often than adults. Analysis of the duration of the fixation preceding the corrective saccade indicated that children are as efficient as adults at responding to retinal feedback following a saccade. Rather than consider differences in adult's and children's return-sweep behaviour an artefact of oculomotor control, we believe that these differences represent adult's ability to utilise parafoveal processing to encode text at extreme positions.
Jovana Pejovic; Eiling Yee; Monika Molnar
In: First Language, pp. 1–15, 2019.
In the language development literature, studies often make inferences about infants' speech perception abilities based on their responses to a single speaker. However, there can be significant natural variability across speakers in how speech is produced (i.e., inter-speaker differences). The current study examined whether inter-speaker differences can affect infants' ability to detect a mismatch between the auditory and visual components of vowels. Using an eye-tracker, 4.5-month-old infants were tested on auditory-visual (AV) matching for two vowels (/i/ and /u/). Critically, infants were tested with two speakers who naturally differed in how distinctively they articulated the two vowels within and across the categories. Only infants who watched and listened to the speaker whose visual articulations of the two vowels were most distinct from one another were sensitive to AV mismatch. This speaker also produced a visually more distinct /i/ as compared to the other speaker. This finding suggests that infants are sensitive to the distinctiveness of AV information across speakers, and that when making inferences about infants' perceptual abilities, characteristics of the speaker should be taken into account.
Michelle S Peter; Samantha Durrant; Andrew Jessop; Amy Bidgood; Julian M Pine; Caroline F Rowland
In: Cognitive Psychology, 115 , pp. 1–25, 2019.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the way that children acquire cognitive representations depends critically on how their processing system is developing. In particular, recent studies suggest that individual differences in language processing speed play an important role in explaining the speed with which children acquire language. Inconsistencies across studies, however, mean that it is not clear whether this relationship is causal or correlational, whether it is present right across development, or whether it extends beyond word learning to affect other aspects of language learning, like syntax acquisition. To address these issues, the current study used the looking-while-listening paradigm devised by Fernald, Swingley, and Pinto (2001) to test the speed with which a large longitudinal cohort of children (the Language 0–5 Project) processed language at 19, 25, and 31 months of age, and took multiple measures of vocabulary (UK-CDI, Lincoln CDI, CDI-III) and syntax (Lincoln CDI) between 8 and 37 months of age. Processing speed correlated with vocabulary size - though this relationship changed over time, and was observed only when there was variation in how well the items used in the looking-while-listening task were known. Fast processing speed was a positive predictor of subsequent vocabulary growth, but only for children with smaller vocabularies. Faster processing speed did, however, predict faster syntactic growth across the whole sample, even when controlling for concurrent vocabulary. The results indicate a relatively direct relationship between processing speed and syntactic development, but point to a more complex interaction between processing speed, vocabulary size and subsequent vocabulary growth.
Eva Rafetseder; Sarah Schuster; Stefan Hawelka; Martin Doherty; Britt Anderson; James Danckert; Elisabeth Stöttinger
In: Psychological Research, pp. 1–14, 2019.
Children until the age of five are only able to reverse an ambiguous figure when they are informed about the second interpretation. In two experiments, we examined whether children's difficulties would extend to a continuous version of the ambiguous figures task. Children (Experiment 1: 66 3- to 5-year olds; Experiment 2: 54 4- to 9-year olds) and adult controls saw line drawings of animals gradually morph—through well-known ambiguous figures—into other animals. Results show a relatively late developing ability to recognize the target animal, with difficulties extending beyond preschool-age. This delay can neither be explained with improvements in theory of mind, inhibitory control, nor individual differences in eye movements. Even the best achieving children only started to approach adult level performance at the age of 9, suggesting a fundamentally different processing style in children and adults.
Anirban Ray; Aditi Subramanian; Harleen Chhabra; John Vijay Sagar Kommu; Ganesan Venkatsubramanian; Shoba Srinath; Satish Girimaji; Shekhar P Sheshadri; Mariamma Philip
Eye movement tracking in pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder Journal Article
In: Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 43 , pp. 9–16, 2019.
Till date researchers have elucidated the neurobiological substrates in OCD using methods like neuroimaging. However, a potential biomarker is still elusive. The present study is an attempt to identify a potential biomarker in pediatric OCD using eye tracking. The present study measured pro-saccade and anti-saccade parameters in 36 cases of pediatric OCD and 31 healthy controls. There was no significant difference between cases and controls in the error rate, peak velocity, position gain and latency measures in both pro-saccade and anti-saccade eye tracking tasks. With age, anti-saccades become slower in velocity, faster in response and more accurate irrespective of disorder status of the child. Pro-saccades also show a similar effect that is less prominent than anti-saccades. Gain measures more significantly vary with age in children with OCD than the controls, whereas latency measures positively correlated with age in children with OCD as opposed to being negatively correlated in the controls. Findings of this study do not support any of the eye tracking measures as putative diagnostic bio-markers in OCD. However, latency and gain parameters across different age groups in anti-saccade tasks need to be explored in future studies.
Tracy Reuter; Arielle Borovsky; Casey Lew-Williams
In: Developmental Psychology, 55 (8), pp. 1656–1665, 2019.
According to prediction-based learning theories, erroneous predictions support learning. However, empirical evidence for a relation between prediction error and children's language learning is currently lacking. Here we investigated whether and how prediction errors influence children's learning of novel words. We hypothesized that word learning would vary as a function of 2 factors: the extent to which children generate predictions, and the extent to which children redirect attention in response to errors. Children were tested in a novel word learning task, which used eye tracking to measure (a) real-time semantic predictions to familiar referents, (b) attention redirection following prediction errors, and (c) learning of novel referents. Results indicated that predictions and prediction errors interdependently supported novel word learning, via children's efficient redirection of attention. This study provides a developmental evaluation of prediction-based theories and suggests that erroneous predictions play a mechanistic role in children's language learning.
Erin K Robertson; Jennifer E Gallant
In: Lingua, 228 , pp. 1–17, 2019.
Children with dyslexia who did not have SLI (n = 31) and typically-developing (TD
Isabel R Rodríguez-Ortiz; Francisco J Moreno-Pérez; Pablo Delgado; David Saldaña
The development of anaphora resolution in Spanish Journal Article
In: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 48 (4), pp. 797–817, 2019.
The present study focuses on the development of Spanish pronominal processing. We investigate whether the pronoun interpretation problem (i.e., reflexive pronouns comprehension is resolved at an earlier age than that of personal pronouns, also known as the Delay of the Principle B Effect), which has been documented in other languages, also occurs in Spanish. For this purpose, we conducted two experiments including pronoun resolution tasks. In Experiment 1, a task adapted from the experimental paradigm proposed by Love et al. (J Psycholinguist Res 38:285–304, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-009-9103-9) was used, which examines the off-line processing of the Spanish pronouns se and le. In Experiment 2, on-line processing of the same pronouns was evaluated with eye-tracking, using a paradigm developed by Thompson and Choy (J Psycholinguist Res 38:255–283, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-009-9105-7). Forty-three participants aged 4–16 years completed both experiments. Results indicated that there is no developmental asymmetry in the acquisition of successful resolution of the two types of anaphora in Spanish: from age 4, reflexive and clitic pronouns are processed with the same degree of accuracy.
Christiane S Rohr; Dennis Dimond; Manuela Schuetze; Ivy Y K Cho; Limor Lichtenstein-Vidne; Hadas Okon-Singer; Deborah Dewey; Signe Bray
In: Neuropsychologia, 127 , pp. 84–92, 2019.
Attention traits are a cornerstone to the healthy development of children's performance in the classroom, their interactions with peers, and in predicting future success and problems. The cerebellum is increasingly appreciated as a region involved in complex cognition and behavior, and moreover makes important connections to key brain networks known to support attention: the dorsal attention and default mode networks (DAN; DMN). The cerebellum has also been implicated in childhood disorders affecting attention, namely autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), suggesting that attention networks extending to the cerebellum may be important to consider in relation to attentive traits. Yet, direct investigations into the association between cerebellar FC and attentive traits are lacking. Therefore, in this study we examined attentive traits, assessed using parent reports of ADHD and ASD symptoms, in a community sample of 52 girls aged 4–7 years, i.e. around the time of school entry, and their association with cerebellar connections with the DAN and DMN. We found that cortico-cerebellar functional connectivity (FC) jointly and differentially correlated with attentive traits, through a combination of weaker and stronger FC across anterior and posterior DAN and DMN nodes. These findings suggest that cortico-cerebellar integration may play an important role in the manifestation of attentive traits.
Tania S Zamuner; Stephanie Strahm; Elizabeth Morin-Lessard; Michael P A Page
In: Developmental Science, 21 (4), pp. 1–13, 2018.
This research investigates the effect of production on 4.5‐ to 6‐year‐old children's recognition of newly learned words. In Experiment 1, children were taught four novel words in a produced or heard training condition during a brief training phase. In Experiment 2, children were taught eight novel words, and this time training condition was in a blocked design. Immediately after training, children were tested on their recognition of the trained novel words using a preferential looking paradigm. In both experiments, children recognized novel words that were produced and heard during training, but demonstrated better recognition for items that were heard. These findings are opposite to previous results reported in the literature with adults and children. Our results show that benefits of speech production for word learning are dependent on factors such as task complexity and the developmental stage of the learner.
Signy Wegener; Hua-Chen Wang; Peter de Lissa; Serje Robidoux; Kate Nation; Anne Castles
In: Developmental Science, 21 (3), pp. 1–9, 2018.
There is an established association between children's oral vocabulary and their word reading but its basis is not well understood. Here, we present evidence from eye movements for a novel mechanism underlying this association. Two groups of 18 Grade 4 children received oral vocabulary training on one set of 16 novel words (e.g., ‘nesh', ‘coib'), but no training on another set. The words were assigned spellings that were either predictable from phonology (e.g., nesh) or unpredictable (e.g., koyb). These were subsequently shown in print, embedded in sentences. Reading times were shorter for orally familiar than unfamiliar items, and for words with predictable than unpredictable spellings but, importantly, there was an interaction between the two: children demonstrated a larger benefit of oral familiarity for predictable than for unpredictable items. These findings indicate that children form initial orthographic expectations about spoken words before first seeing them in print. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/jvpJwpKMM3E.
Candice C Morey; Silvana Mareva; Jaroslaw R Lelonkiewicz; Nicolas Chevalier
In: Developmental Science, 21 , pp. 1–8, 2018.
The emergence of strategic verbal rehearsal at around 7 years of age is widely considered a major milestone in descriptions of the development of short‐term memory across childhood. Likewise, rehearsal is believed by many to be a crucial factor in explaining why memory improves with age. This apparent qualitative shift in mnemonic processes has also been characterized as a shift from passive visual to more active verbal mnemonic strategy use, but no investigation of the development of overt spatial rehearsal has informed this explanation. We measured serial spatial order reconstruction in adults and groups of children 5–7 years old and 8–11 years old, while recording their eye movements. Children, particularly the youngest children, overtly fixated late‐list spatial positions longer than adults, suggesting that younger children are less likely to engage in covert rehearsal during stimulus presentation than older children and adults. However, during retention the youngest children overtly fixated more of the to‐be‐remembered sequences than any other group, which is inconsistent with the idea that children do nothing to try to remember. Altogether, these data are inconsistent with the notion that children under 7 do not engage in any attempts to remember. They are most consistent with proposals that children's style of remembering shifts around age 7 from reactive cue‐driven methods to proactive, covert methods, which may include cumulative rehearsal.
Nicolas Chevalier; Bruno Dauvier; Agnès Blaye
In: Developmental Science, 21 (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.
Wendy Troop-Gordon; Robert D Gordon; Bethany M Schwandt; Gregor A Horvath; Elizabeth Ewing Lee; Kari J Visconti
In: Development and Psychopathology, pp. 1–16, 2018.
As approximately one-third of peer-victimized children evidence heightened aggression (Schwartz, Proctor, & Chien, 2001), it is imperative to identify the circumstances under which victimization and aggression co-develop. The current study explored two potential moderators of victimization–aggression linkages: (a) attentional bias toward cues signaling threat and (b) attentional bias toward cues communicating interpersonal support. Seventy-two fifth- and sixth-grade children (34 boys = 11.67) were eye tracked while watching video clips of bullying. Each scene included a bully, a victim, a reinforcer, and a defender. Children's victimization was measured using peer, parent, and teacher reports. Aggression was measured using peer reports of overt and relational aggression and teacher reports of aggression. Victimization was associated with greater aggression at high levels of attention to the bully. Victimization was also associated with greater aggression at low attention to the defender for boys, but at high attention to the defender for girls. Attention to the victim was negatively correlated with aggression regardless of victimization history. Thus, attentional biases to social cues integral to the bullying context differentiate whether victimization is linked to aggression, necessitating future research on the development of these biases and concurrent trajectories of sociobehavioral development.
Lauren K Slone; Scott P Johnson
In: Cognition, 178 , pp. 92–102, 2018.
Much research has documented infants' sensitivity to statistical regularities in auditory and visual inputs, however the manner in which infants process and represent statistically defined information remains unclear. Two types of models have been proposed to account for this sensitivity: statistical models, which posit that learners represent statistical relations between elements in the input; and chunking models, which posit that learners represent statistically-coherent units of information from the input. Here, we evaluated the fit of these two types of models to behavioral data that we obtained from 8-month-old infants across four visual sequence-learning experiments. Experiments examined infants' representations of two types of structures about which statistical and chunking models make contrasting predictions: illusory sequences (Experiment 1) and embedded sequences (Experiments 2–4). In all four experiments, infants discriminated between high probability sequences and low probability part-sequences, providing strong evidence of learning. Critically, infants also discriminated between high probability sequences and statistically-matched sequences (illusory sequences in Experiment 1, embedded sequences in Experiments 2–3), suggesting that infants learned coherent chunks of elements. Experiment 4 examined the temporal nature of chunking, and demonstrated that the fate of embedded chunks depends on amount of exposure. These studies contribute important new data on infants' visual statistical learning ability, and suggest that the representations that result from infants' visual statistical learning are best captured by chunking models.
Calandra Speirs; Zorry Belchev; Amanda Fernandez; Stephanie Korol; Christopher Sears
In: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 25 (6), pp. 928–957, 2018.
Two experiments examined age differences in the effect of a sad mood induction (MI) on attention to emotional images. Younger and older adults viewed sets of four images while their eye gaze was tracked throughout an 8-s presentation. Images were viewed before and after a sad MI to assess the effect of a sad mood on attention to positive and negative scenes. Younger and older adults exhibited positively biased attention after the sad MI, significantly increasing their attention to positive images, with no evidence of an age difference in either experiment. A test of participants' recognition memory for the images indicated that the sad MI reduced memory accuracy for sad images for younger and older adults. The results suggest that heightened attention to positive images following a sad MI reflects an affect regulation strategy related to mood repair. The implications for theories of the positivity effect are discussed.
Emma Sumner; Samuel B Hutton; Gustav Kuhn; Elisabeth L Hill
Oculomotor atypicalities in developmental coordination disorder Journal Article
In: Developmental Science, 21 (1), pp. 1–12, 2018.
Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) fail to acquire adequate motor skill, yet surprisingly little is known about the oculomotor system in DCD. Successful completion of motor tasks is supported by accurate visual feedback. The purpose of this study was to determine whether any oculomotor differences can distinguish between children with and without a motor impairment. Using eye tracking technology, visual fixation, smooth pursuit, and pro- and anti-saccade performance were assessed in 77 children that formed three groups: children with DCD (aged 7-10), chronologically age (CA) matched peers, and a motor-match (MM) group (aged 4-7). Pursuit gain and response preparation in the pro- and anti-saccade tasks were comparable across groups. Compared to age controls, children with DCD had deficits in maintaining engagement in the fixation and pursuit tasks, and made more anti-saccade errors. The two typically developing groups performed similarly, except on the fast speed smooth pursuit and antisaccade tasks, where the CA group outperformed the younger MM group. The findings suggest that children with DCD have problems with saccadic inhibition and maintaining attention on a visual target. Developmental patterns were evident in the typically developing groups, suggesting that the pursuit system and cognitive control develop with age. This study adds to the literature by being the first to systematically identify specific oculomotor differences between children with and without a motor impairment. Further examination of oculomotor control may help to identify underlying processes contributing to DCD.
Emma Sumner; Hayley C Leonard; Elisabeth L Hill
In: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 46 (8), pp. 1717–1729, 2018.
Difficulties with social interaction have been reported in both children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), although these disorders have very different diagnostic characteristics. To date, assessment of social skills in a DCD population has been limited to paper-based assessment or parent report. The present study employed eye tracking methodology to examine how children attend to socially-relevant stimuli, comparing 28 children with DCD, 28 children with ASD and 26 typically-developing (TD) age-matched controls (aged 7-10). Eye movements were recorded while children viewed 30 images, half of which were classed as 'Individual' (one person in the scene, direct gaze) and the other half were 'Social' (more naturalistic scenes showing an interaction). Children with ASD spent significantly less time looking at the face/eye regions in the images than TD children, but children with DCD performed between the ASD and TD groups in this respect. Children with DCD demonstrated a reduced tendency to follow gaze, in comparison to the ASD group. Our findings confirm that social atypicalities are present in both ASD and to a lesser extent DCD, but follow a different pattern. Future research would benefit from considering the developmental nature of the observed findings and their implications for support.
Simon P Tiffin-Richards; Sascha Schroeder
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44 (7), pp. 1051–1063, 2018.
Reading comprehension is the product of constructing a coherent mental model of a text. Although some of the processes that are necessary to construct such a mental model are executed incrementally, others are deferred to the end of the clause or sentence, where integration processing is wrapped up before the reader progresses further in the text. In this longitudinal study of 65 German-speaking children across Grades 2, 3, and 4, we investigated the development of wrap-up processes at clause and sentence boundaries by tracking the children's eye movements while they read age-appropriate texts. Our central finding was that children in Grade 2 showed strong wrap-up effects that then slowly decreased across school grades. Children in Grades 3 and 4 also increasingly used clause and sentence boundaries to initiate regressions and rereading. Finally, children in Grade 2 were shown to be significantly disrupted in their reading at line breaks, which are inherent in continuous text. This disruption decreased as the children progressed to Grades 3 and 4. Overall, our results show that children exhibit an adultlike pattern of wrap-up effects by the time they reach Grade 4. We discuss this developmental trajectory in relation to models of text processing and mechanisms of eye-movement control.
Tawny Tsang; Natsuki Atagi; Scott P Johnson
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 169 , pp. 93–109, 2018.
Infants increasingly attend to the mouths of others during the latter half of the first postnatal year, and individual differences in selective attention to talking mouths during infancy predict verbal skills during toddlerhood. There is some evidence suggesting that trajectories in mouth-looking vary by early language environment, in particular monolingual or bilingual language exposure, which may have differential consequences in developing sensitivity to the communicative and social affordances of the face. Here, we evaluated whether 6- to 12-month-olds' mouth-looking is related to skills associated with concurrent social communicative development—including early language functioning and emotion discriminability. We found that attention to the mouth of a talking face increased with age but that mouth-looking was more strongly associated with concurrent expressive language skills than chronological age for both monolingual and bilingual infants. Mouth-looking was not related to emotion discrimination. These data suggest that selective attention to a talking mouth may be one important mechanism by which infants learn language regardless of home language environment.
Tawny Tsang; Marissa Ogren; Yujia Peng; Bryan Nguyen; Kerri L Johnson; Scott P Johnson
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173 , pp. 338–350, 2018.
We examined mechanisms underlying infants' ability to categorize human biological motion stimuli from sex-typed walk motions, focusing on how visual attention to dynamic information in point-light displays (PLDs) contributes to infants' social category formation. We tested for categorization of PLDs produced by women and men by habituating infants to a series of female or male walk motions and then recording posthabituation preferences for new PLDs from the familiar or novel category (Experiment 1). We also tested for intrinsic preferences for female or male walk motions (Experiment 2). We found that infant boys were better able to categorize PLDs than were girls and that male PLDs were preferred overall. Neither of these effects was found to change with development across the observed age range (∼4–18 months). We conclude that infants' categorization of walk motions in PLDs is constrained by intrinsic preferences for higher motion speeds and higher spans of motion and, relatedly, by differences in walk motions produced by men and women.
Koen van Lith; Dick Johan Veltman; Moran Daniel Cohn; Louise Else Pape; Marieke Eleonora van den Akker-Nijdam; Amanda Wilhelmina Geertruida van Loon; Pierre Bet; Guido Alexander van Wingen; Wim van den Brink; Theo Doreleijers; Arne Popma
In: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 57 (12), pp. 934–943, 2018.
Objective: Although the neural underpinnings of antisocial behavior have been studied extensively, research on pharmacologic interventions targeting specific neural mechanisms remains sparse. Hypoactivity of the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) has been reported in antisocial adolescents, which could account for deficits in fear learning (amygdala) and impairments in decision making (vmPFC), respectively. Limited clinical research suggests positive effects of methylphenidate, a dopamine agonist, on antisocial behavior in adolescents. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter involved in amygdala and vmPFC functioning. The objective of this study was to investigate whether methylphenidate targets dysfunctions in these brain areas in adolescents with antisocial behavior. Method: A group of 42 clinical referred male adolescents (14–17 years old) with a disruptive behavior disorder performed a fear learning/reversal paradigm in a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled pharmacologic functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Participants with disruptive behavior disorder were randomized to receive a single dose of methylphenidate 0.3 to 0.4 mg/kg (n = 22) or placebo (n = 20) and were compared with 21 matched healthy controls not receiving medication. Results: In a region-of-interest analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data during fear learning, the placebo group showed hyporeactivity of the amygdala compared with healthy controls, whereas amygdala reactivity was normalized in the methylphenidate group. There were no group differences in vmPFC reactivity during fear reversal learning. Whole-brain analyses showed no group differences. Conclusion: These findings suggest that methylphenidate is a promising pharmacologic intervention for youth antisocial behavior that could restore amygdala functioning.
Daan R van Renswoude; Maartje E J Raijmakers; Arnout W Koornneef; Scott P Johnson; Sabine Hunnius; Ingmar Visser
In: Behavior Research Methods, 50 (2), pp. 834–852, 2018.
Eye-trackers are a popular tool for studying cog- nitive, emotional, and attentional processes in different populations (e.g., clinical and typically developing) and par- ticipants of all ages, ranging from infants to the elderly. This broad range of processes and populations implies that there are many inter- and intra-individual differences that need to be taken into account when analyzing eye-tracking data. Standard parsing algorithms supplied by the eye- tracker manufacturers are typically optimized for adults and do not account for these individual differences. This paper presents gazepath, an easy-to-use R-package that comes with a graphical user interface (GUI) implemented in Shiny (RStudio Inc, 2015). The gazepath R-package combines solutions from the adult and infant literature to provide an eye-tracking parsing method that accounts for individ- ual differences and differences in data quality. We illustrate the usefulness of gazepath with three examples of different data sets. The first example shows how gazepath performs on free-viewing data of infants and adults, compared to standard EyeLink parsing. We show that gazepath con- trols for spurious correlations between fixation durations and data quality in infant data. The second example shows that gazepath performs well in high-quality reading data of adults. The third and last example shows that gazepath can also be used on noisy infant data collected with a Tobii eye-tracker and low (60 Hz) sampling rate.
Jingxin Wang; Lin Li; Sha Li; Fang Xie; Min Chang; Kevin B Paterson; Sarah J White; Victoria A McGowan
In: Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 73 (4), pp. 584–593, 2018.
Objectives: Substantial evidence indicates that older readers of alphabetic languages (e.g., English and German) compensate for age-related reading difficulty by employing a more risky reading strategy in which words are skipped more frequently. The effects of healthy aging on reading behavior for nonalphabetic languages, like Chinese, are largely unknown, although this would reveal the extent to which age-related changes in reading strategy are universal. Accordingly, the present research used measures of eye movements to investigate adult age differences in Chinese reading. Method: The eye movements of young (18–30 years) and older (60+ years) Chinese readers were recorded. Results: The older adults exhibited typical patterns of age-related reading difficulty. But rather than employing a more risky reading strategy compared with the younger readers, the older adults read more carefully by skipping words infre- quently, making shorter forward eye movements, and fixating closer to the beginnings of two-character target words in sentences. Discussion: In contrast with the findings for alphabetic languages, older Chinese readers appear to compensate for age- related reading difficulty by employing a more careful reading strategy. Age-related changes in reading strategy therefore appear to be language specific, rather than universal, and may reflect the specific visual and linguistic requirements of the writing system.