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!
Quan Wang; Lauren DiNicola; Perrine Heymann; Michelle Hampson; Katarzyna Chawarska
In: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 57 (1), pp. 33–40, 2018.
Objective One of the common findings in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is limited selective attention toward social objects, such as faces. Evidence from both human and nonhuman primate studies suggests that selection of objects for processing is guided by the appraisal of object values. We hypothesized that impairments in selective attention in ASD may reflect a disruption of a system supporting learning about object values in the social domain. Method We examined value learning in social (faces) and nonsocial (fractals) domains in preschoolers with ASD (n = 25) and typically developing (TD) controls (n = 28), using a novel value learning task implemented on a gaze-contingent eye-tracking platform consisting of value learning and a selective attention choice test. Results Children with ASD performed more poorly than TD controls on the social value learning task, but both groups performed similarly on the nonsocial task. Within-group comparisons indicated that value learning in TD children was enhanced on the social compared to the nonsocial task, but no such enhancement was seen in children with ASD. Performance in the social and nonsocial conditions was correlated in the ASD but not in the TD group. Conclusion The study provides support for a domain-specific impairment in value learning for faces in ASD, and suggests that, in ASD, value learning in social and nonsocial domains may rely on a shared mechanism. These findings have implications both for models of selective social attention deficits in autism and for identification of novel treatment targets.
Kayleigh L Warrington; Victoria A McGowan; Kevin B Paterson; Sarah J White
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44 (11), pp. 1714–1729, 2018.
Reductions in stimulus quality may disrupt the reading performance of older adults more when compared with young adults because of sensory declines that begin early in middle age. However, few studies have investigated adult age differences in the effects of stimulus quality on reading, and none have examined how this affects lexical processing and eye movement control. Accordingly, we report two experiments that examine the effects of reduced stimulus quality on the eye movements of young (18–24 years), middle-aged (41–51 years), and older (65⫹ years) adult readers. In Experiment 1, participants read sentences that contained a high- or low-frequency critical word and that were presented normally or with contrast reduced so that words appeared faint. Experiment 2 further investigated effects of reduced stimulus quality using a gaze-contingent technique to present upcoming text normally or with contrast reduced. Typical patterns of age-related reading difficulty (e.g., slower reading, more regressions) were observed in both experiments. In addition, eye movements were disrupted more for older than younger adults when all text (Experiment 1) or just upcoming text (Experiment 2) appeared faint. Moreover, there was an interaction between stimulus quality and word frequency (Experiment 1), such that readers fixated faint low-frequency words for disproportionately longer. Crucially, this effect was similar across all age groups. Thus, although older readers suffer more from reduced stimulus quality, this additional difficulty primarily affects their visual processing of text. These findings have important implications for understanding the role of stimulus quality on reading behavior across the lifespan.
Kayleigh L Warrington; Sarah J White; Kevin B Paterson
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71 (1), pp. 75–84, 2018.
Research with lexical neighbours (words that differ by a single letter while the number and order of letters are preserved) indicates that readers frequently misperceive a word as its higher frequency neighbour (HFN) even during normal reading. But how this lexical influence on word identification changes across the adult lifespan is largely unknown, although slower lexical processing and reduced visual abilities in later adulthood may lead to an increased incidence of word misperception errors. In particular, older adults may be more likely than younger adults to misidentify a word as its HFN, especially when the HFN is congruent with prior sentence context, although this has not been investigated. Accordingly, to address this issue, young and older adults read sentences containing target words with and without an HFN, where the HFN was either congruent with prior sentence context or not. Consistent with previous findings for young adults, eye movements were disrupted more for words with than without an HFN, especially when the HFN was congruent with prior context. Crucially, however, there was no indication of an adult age difference in this word misperception effect. We discuss these findings in relation to the nature of misperception effects in older age.
Jan R Wessel; Kylie A Dolan; Andrew Hollingworth
In: Neurobiology of Aging, 71 , pp. 13–20, 2018.
Conscious error detection is impaired in older age, yet it is unclear which age-related changes in the nervous system contribute to this deficit. In younger adults, error commission is accompanied by phasic autonomic arousal, which purportedly contributes to conscious error detection. Because aging is associated with declining autonomic reactivity, reduced phasic arousal to errors may therefore contribute to age-related error detection deficits. To test this, we measured pupil dilation in younger (textless30 years) and older (60–80 years) healthy adults during an eye movement task. The task required a subjective assessment of response accuracy, as well as a “meta-judgment” of the certainty underlying that accuracy-assessment. This allowed for a precise quantification of subjective error awareness. Behaviorally, we found reduced error awareness in older adults. Furthermore, while younger adults showed “residual” awareness of error commission on unreported errors (indicated by decreased rating certainty compared with correct responses), this effect was absent in older adults. Notably, pupil dilation correlated with both measures: between subjects, greater pupil dilation to reported errors was correlated with greater subjective certainty of error detection, and greater pupil dilation to unreported errors was correlated with greater “residual” awareness of unreported errors. In line with this association, older adults showed a reduced pupil response to both reported and unreported errors. Notably, older adults showed no pupil dilation to unreported errors, in line with their lack of “residual” error awareness on such trials. Taken together, our results suggest that reduced autonomic reactivity may contribute to age-related error awareness deficits.
Veronica Whitford; Marc F Joanisse
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173 , pp. 318–337, 2018.
An extensive body of research has examined reading acquisition and performance in monolingual children. Surprisingly, however, much less is known about reading in bilingual children, who outnumber monolingual children globally. Here, we address this important imbalance in the literature by employing eye movement recordings to examine both global (i.e., text-level) and local (i.e., word-level) aspects of monolingual and bilingual children's reading performance across their first-language (L1) and second-language (L2). We also had a specific focus on lexical accessibility, indexed by word frequency effects. We had three main findings. First, bilingual children displayed reduced global and local L1 reading performance relative to monolingual children, including larger L1 word frequency effects. Second, bilingual children displayed reduced global and local L2 versus L1 reading performance, including larger L2 word frequency effects. Third, both groups of children displayed reduced global and local reading performance relative to adult comparison groups (across their known languages), including larger word frequency effects. Notably, our first finding was not captured by traditional offline measures of reading, such as standardized tests, suggesting that these measures may lack the sensitivity to detect such nuanced between-group differences in reading performance. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that bilingual children's simultaneous exposure to two reading systems leads to eye movement reading behavior that differs from that of monolingual children and has important consequences for how lexical information is accessed and integrated in both languages.
Jordana S Wynn; Rosanna K Olsen; Malcolm A Binns; Bradley R Buchsbaum; Jennifer D Ryan
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44 (7), pp. 1119–1127, 2018.
Research using eye movement monitoring suggests that recapitulating the pattern of eye movements made during stimulus encoding at subsequent retrieval supports memory by reinstating the spatial layout of the encoded stimulus. In the present study, the authors investigated whether recapitulation of encoding fixations during a poststudy, stimulus-free delay period—an effect that has been previously linked to memory maintenance in younger adults— can support mnemonic performance in older adults. Older adults showed greater delay-period fixation reinstatement than younger adults, and this reinstatement supported age-equivalent performance on a subsequent visuospatial-memory-based change detection task, whereas in younger adults, the performance-enhancing effects of fixation reinstatement increased with task difficulty. Taken together, these results suggest that fixation reinstatement might reflect a compensatory response to increased cognitive load. The present findings provide novel evidence of compensatory fixation reinstatement in older adults and demonstrate the utility of eye movement monitoring for aging and memory research. Public Significance Statement Eye movements can be used to boost memory. Here, we show that when asked to remember the locations of objects within a scene, older adults will spontaneously rehearse the locations by looking with their eyes at the spaces that had been previously occupied by those objects. This gaze pattern supports subsequent memory performance. This study enhances our understanding of the role eye movements play in memory and establishes eye-movement monitoring as a useful method in aging research.
Jing Zhao; Hang Yang; Xuchu Weng; Zhiguo Wang
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 9 , pp. 1–7, 2018.
Young children are frequently exposed to environmental prints (e.g., billboards and product labels) that contain visual word forms on a daily basis. As the visual word forms in environmental prints are frequently used to convey information critical to an individual's survival and wellbeing (e.g., "STOP" in the stop sign), it is conceivable that an attentional bias toward words in the environment may emerge as the reading ability of young children develops. Empirical findings relevant to this issue, however, are inconclusive so far. The present study examines this issue in children in the early stages of formal reading training (grades 1, 3, and 5) with the eye-tracking technique. Children viewed images with word and non-word visual information (environmental prints) and images with the same words in standard typeface on a plain background (standard prints). For children in grade 1, the latency of their first fixations on words in environmental prints was longer than those in standard prints. This latency cost, however, was markedly reduced in grades 3 and 5, suggesting that in older children an attentional bias toward words has emerged to help filter out the non-word visual information in environmental prints. Importantly, this attentional bias was found to correlate moderately with word reading ability. These findings show that an attentional bias toward visual word forms emerges shortly after the start of formal schooling and it is closely linked to the development of reading skills.
Peng Zhou; Weiyi Ma
In: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 47 (1), pp. 241–260, 2018.
The present study investigated whether and how fast young children can use information encoded in morphological markers during real-time event representation. Using the visual world paradigm, we tested 35 adults, 34 5-year-olds and 33 3-year-olds. The results showed that the adults, the 5-year-olds and the 3-year-olds all exhibited eye gaze patterns that reflected a rapid use of morphological cues during real-time event representation. There was no difference in the time course of the eye gaze patterns of the 5-year-olds and those of the adults, indicating that 5-year-old children already have adult-like processing abilities and they can use morphological cues as effectively as adults during real-time event representation. However, a 400 ms delay was observed in the eye gaze patterns by the 3-year-olds as compared to the 5-year-olds and the adults. We proposed that the observed difference might reflect a difference in the general cognitive processing abilities between the three age groups. Due to the immature cognitive processing abilities of 3-year-olds, it took longer for them to progress their eye movements to the target pictures as compared to older children and adults.
Wei Zhou; Hua Shu; Kevin Miller; Ming Yan
In: Journal of Research in Reading, 41 (2), pp. 370–391, 2018.
Background: Disruptions of reading processes due to text substitutions can measure how readers use lexical information. Methods: With eye-movement recording, children and adults viewed sentences with either identical, orthographically similar, homophonic or unrelated substitutions of the first characters in target words. To the extent that readers rely on orthographic or phonological cues, substitutions that contain such cues should cause less disruption reading than do unrelated substitutions. Results: On pretarget words, there was a reliable reduction in gaze duration due to homophonic substitution only for children. On target words, we observed reliable recovery effects due to orthographic similarity for adults. On post-target words, adults had better orthographic-based and phonological-based recovery abilities than children. Conclusions: The combination of eye movement recording and the error detection paradigm offers a novel implicit paradigm for studying reading development: during sentence reading, beginning readers of Chinese may rely on phonological mediation, while skilled readers have more direct access to semantics from orthography.
Otto Loberg; Jarkko Hautala; Jarmo A Hämäläinen; Paavo H T Leppänen
In: PLoS ONE, 13 (12), pp. e0209741, 2018.
In this study, we investigated the effects of context-related semantic anomalies on the fixation-related brain potentials of 12–13-year-old Finnish children in grade 6 during sentence reading. The detection of such anomalies is typically reflected in the N400 event-related potential. We also examined whether the representation invoked by the sentence context extends to the orthographic representation level by replacing the final words of the sentence with an anomalous word neighbour of a plausible word. The eye-movement results show that the anomalous word neighbours of plausible words cause similar first-fixation and gaze duration reactions, as do other anomalous words. Similarly, we observed frontal negativity in the fixation-related potential of the unrelated anomalous words and in the anomalous word neighbours. This frontal negativity was larger in both anomalous conditions than in the response elicited by the plausible condition. We thus show that the brain successfully uses context to separate anomalous words from plausible words on a single letter level during free reading. From the P600 response of the scalp waveform, we observed that the P600 was delayed in the anomalous word neighbour condition. We performed group-level decomposition on the data with ICA (independent component analysis) and analysed the time course and source structure of the decomposed data. This analysis of decomposed brain signals not only confirmed the delay of the P600 response but also revealed that the frontal negativity concealed s more typical and separate N400 response, which was similarly delayed in the anomalous word neighbour condition, as was the P600 response. Source analysis of these independent components implicated the right frontal eye field as the cortical source for the frontal negativity and the middle temporal and parietal regions as cortical sources for the components resembling the N400 and P600 responses. We interpret the delays present in N400 and P600 responses to anomalous word neighbours to reflect competition with the representation of the plausible word just one letter different.
Allison M Londerée; Megan E Roberts; Mary E Wewers; Ellen Peters; Amy K Ferketich; Dylan D Wagner
In: Tobacco Regulatory Science, 4 (6), pp. 57–65, 2018.
Objectives: E-cigarettes are now the most commonly-used tobacco product among adoles- cents; yet, little work has examined how the appealing food and flavor cues used in their mar- keting might attract adolescents' attention, thereby increasing willingness to try these prod- ucts. In the present study, we tested whether advertisements for fruit/sweet/savory-flavored (“flavored”) e-cigarettes attracted adolescent attention in real-world scenes more than tobacco flavored (“unflavored”) e-cigarettes. Additionally, we examined the relationship between ado- lescent attentional bias and willingness to try flavored e-cigarettes. Methods: Participants were 46 adolescents (age range: 16-18 years). All participants took part in an eye-tracking paradigm that examined attentional bias to flavored and unflavored e-cigarette advertisements embed- ded in pictures of real-world storefront scenes. Afterwards, participants' willingness to try fla- vored and unflavored e-cigarettes was assessed. Results: In support of our primary hypothesis, adolescents looked longer and fixated more frequently on flavored (vs unflavored) e-cigarette advertisements. Moreover, this attentional bias towards flavored e-cigarette advertisements predicted a greater willingness to try flavored vs unflavored e-cigarettes. Conclusions: These findings suggest that flavored e-cigarette marketing attracts the attention of adolescents, in- creases their willingness to try flavored e-cigarette products, and could, therefore, put them at greater risk for tobacco initiation. Key
Steven G Luke; Anna Asplund
In: Visual Cognition, 26 (5), pp. 351–365, 2018.
When viewing a visual scene, eye movements are often language-mediated: people look at objects as those objects are named. Eye movements can even reflect predictive language processing, moving to an object before it is named. Children are also capable of making language-mediated eye movements, even predictive ones, and prediction may be involved in language learning. The present study explored whether eye movements are language-mediated in a more naturalistic task – shared storybook reading. Research has shown that children fixate illustrations during shared storybook reading, ignoring text. The present study used high-precision eye-tracking to replicate this finding. Further, prereader participants showed increased likelihood of fixating relevant storybook illustrations as words were read aloud, indicating that their eye movements were language mediated like the adult participants. Language-mediated eye movements to illustrations were reactive, not predictive, in both participant groups.
Diako Mardanbegi; Rebecca Killick; Baiqiang Xia; Thomas D W Wilcockson; Hans Gellersen; Peter Sawyer; Trevor J Crawford
Effect of aging on post-saccadic oscillations Journal Article
In: Vision Research, 143 , pp. 1–8, 2018.
Recent research have shown that the eye movement data measured by an eye tracker does not necessarily reflect the exact rotations of the eyeball. For example, post-saccadic eye movements may be more reflecting the relative movements between the pupil and the iris rather than the eyeball oscillations. Since, accurate measurement of eye movements is important in many studies, it is crucial to identify different factors that influence the dynamics of the eye movements measured by an eye tracker. Previous studies have shown that deformation of the internal structure of the iris and size of the pupil directly affect the amplitude of the post-saccadic oscillations that are measured by video-based eye trackers that are pupil-based. In this paper, we look at the effect of aging on post-saccadic oscillations. We recorded eye movements from a group of 43 young and 22 older participants during an abstract and a more natural viewing task. The recording was conducted with a video-based eye tracker using the pupil center and corneal reflection. We anticipated that changes in the muscle strength as an effect of aging might affect, directly or indirectly, the post-saccadic oscillations. Results showed that the size of the post-saccadic oscillations were significantly larger for our older group. The results suggests that aging has to be considered as an important factor when studying the post-saccadic eye movements.
Bob McMurray; Ani Danelz; Hannah Rigler; Michael Seedorff
Speech categorization develops slowly through adolescence Journal Article
In: Developmental Psychology, 54 (8), pp. 1472–1491, 2018.
The development of the ability to categorize speech sounds is often viewed as occurring primarily during infancy via perceptual learning mechanisms. However, a number of studies suggest that even after infancy, children's categories become more categorical and well defined through about age 12. We investigated the cognitive changes that may be responsible for such development using a visual world paradigm experiment based on (McMurray, Tanenhaus, & Aslin, 2002). Children from 3 age groups (7- 8, 12-13, and 17-18 years) heard a token from either a b/p or s/f continua spanning 2 words (beach/peach, ship/sip) and selected its referent from a screen containing 4 pictures of potential lexical candidates. Eye movements to each object were monitored as a measure of how strongly children were committing to each candidate as perception unfolds in real-time. Results showed an ongoing sharpening of speech categories through 18, which was particularly apparent during the early stages of real-time perception. When analysis targeted to specifically within-category sensitivity to continuous detail, children exhibited increasingly gradient categories over development, suggesting that increasing sensitivity to fine-grained detail in the signal enables these more discrete categorizations. Together these suggest that speech development is a protracted process in which children's increasing sensitivity to within-category detail in the signal enables increasingly sharp phonetic categories.
David Méary; Carole Jaggie; Olivier Pascalis
In: Language Learning, 68 , pp. 14–30, 2018.
Visual and auditory information jointly contribute to face categorization processes in humans, and gender is a socially relevant multisensory category specified by faces and voices that is detected early in infancy. We used an eye tracker to study how gender coherence in audio and visual modalities influence face scanning in 9- to 12-month-old infants and in adults. While viewing dynamic faces, infants attended to a speaker's mouth region to a greater extent than adults, regardless of speech, which was mostly due to an increase in mean fixation durations. However, the time course of attending to eye and mouth regions showed similarities in adults and infants. Face-voice congruence for gender appeared to have little effect on measures of face scanning. Overall, results suggested that 9- to 12-month-old infants give more weight to the processing of a speaker's mouth compared to adults but that infants already have an adult-like face-scanning strategy.
Vaidehi S Natu; Jesse Gomez; Kalanit Grill-Spector; Brianna Jeska; Michael Barnett
In: Nature Communications, 9 , pp. 788, 2018.
Receptive fields (RFs) processing information in restricted parts of the visual field are a key property of visual system neurons. However, how RFs develop in humans is unknown. Using fMRI and population receptive field (pRF) modeling in children and adults, we determine where and how pRFs develop across the ventral visual stream. Here we report that pRF properties in visual field maps, from the first visual area, V1, through the first ventro-occipital area, VO1, are adult-like by age 5. However, pRF properties in face-selective and character- selective regions develop into adulthood, increasing the foveal coverage bias for faces in the right hemisphere and words in the left hemisphere. Eye-tracking indicates that pRF changes are related to changing fixation patterns on words and faces across development. These findings suggest a link between face and word viewing behavior and the differential development of pRFs across visual cortex, potentially due to competition on foveal coverage.
Marissa Ogren; Joseph M BWIBBLEing; Scott P Johnson
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 174 , pp. 29–40, 2018.
Perceiving and understanding the emotions of those around us is an imperative skill to develop early in life. An infant's family environment provides most of their emotional exemplars in early development. However, the relation between the early development of emotion perception and family expressiveness remains understudied. To investigate this potential link to early emotion perception development, we examined 38 infants at 9 months of age. We assessed infants' ability to match emotions across facial and vocal modalities using an intermodal matching paradigm for angry–neutral, happy–neutral, and sad–neutral pairings. We also attained family expressiveness information via parent report. Our results indicate a significant positive relation between emotion matching and family expressiveness specific to the happy–neutral condition. However, we found no evidence for emotion matching for the infants as a group in any of the three conditions. These results suggest that family expressiveness does relate to emotion matching for the earliest developing emotional category among 9-month-old infants and that emotion matching with multiple emotions at this age is a challenging task.
Jessica L O'Rielly; Anna Ma-Wyatt
In: Human Movement Science, 59 , pp. 244–257, 2018.
Goal directed movements are typically accompanied by a saccade to the target location. Online control plays an important part in correction of a reach, especially if the target or goal of the reach moves during the reach. While there are notable changes to visual processing and motor control with healthy ageing, there is limited evidence about how eye-hand coordination during online updating changes with healthy ageing. We sought to quantify differences between older and younger people for eye-hand coordination during online updating. Participants completed a double step reaching task implemented under time pressure. The target perturbation could occur 200, 400 and 600 ms into a reach. We measured eye position and hand position throughout the trials to investigate changes to saccade latency, movement latency, movement time, reach characteristics and eye-hand latency and accuracy. Both groups were able to update their reach in response to a target perturbation that occurred at 200 or 400 ms into the reach. All participants demonstrated incomplete online updating for the 600 ms perturbation time. Saccade latencies, measured from the first target presentation, were generally longer for older participants. Older participants had significantly increased movement times but there was no significant difference between groups for touch accuracy. We speculate that the longer movement times enable the use of new visual information about the target location for online updating towards the end of the movement. Interestingly, older participants also produced a greater proportion of secondary saccades within the target perturbation condition and had generally shorter eye-hand latencies. This is perhaps a compensatory mechanism as there was no significant group effect on final saccade accuracy. Overall, the pattern of results suggests that online control of movements may be qualitatively different in older participants.
Charisse B Pickron; Arjun Iyer; Eswen Fava; Lisa S Scott
In: Child Development, 89 (3), pp. 698–710, 2018.
This study examined differences in visual attention as a function of label learning from 6 to 9 months of age. Before and after 3 months of parent-directed storybook training with computer-generated novel objects, event-related potentials and visual fixations were recorded while infants viewed trained and untrained images (n = 23). Relative to a pretraining, a no-training control group (n = 11), and to infants trained with category- level labels (e.g., all labeled “Hitchel”), infants trained with individual-level labels (e.g., “Boris,”“Jamar”) displayed increased visual attention and neural differentiation of objects after training.
Diane Poulin-Dubois; Paul D Hastings; Sabrina S Chiarella; Elena Geangu; Petra Hauf; Alexa Ruel; Aaron P Johnson
In: PLoS ONE, 13 (12), pp. e0208524, 2018.
The current research explored toddlers' gaze fixation during a scene showing a person expressing sadness after a ball is stolen from her. The relation between the duration of gaze fixation on different parts of the person's sad face (e.g., eyes, mouth) and theory of mind skills was examined. Eye tracking data indicated that before the actor experienced the negative event, toddlers divided their fixation equally between the actor's happy face and other distracting objects, but looked longer at the face after the ball was stolen and she expressed sadness. The strongest predictor of increased focus on the sad face versus other elements of the scene was toddlers' ability to predict others' emotional reactions when outcomes fulfilled (happiness) or failed to fulfill (sadness) desires, whereas toddlers' visual perspective-taking skills predicted their more specific focusing on the actor's eyes and, for boys only, mouth. Furthermore, gender differences emerged in toddlers' fixation on parts of the scene. Taken together, these findings suggest that top-down processes are involved in the scanning of emotional facial expressions in toddlers.
Jessica M Price; Anthony J Sanford
In: Discourse Processes, 55 (2), pp. 206–217, 2018.
Previous research has shown that information referring to a named character or to information in the main clause of a sentence is more accessible and facilitates the processing of anaphoric references. We investigated whether the use of such cues are maintained in healthy aging. We present two experiments investigating whether information contained in the main clause of a sentence is more accessible compared with information contained in the subordinate clause. We present two further experiments that explored whether proper names act as controllers of discourse focus. Experiment 1 showed that information contained in the subordinate clause of a sentence decreased the processing efficiency of anaphoric references (more so for older adults), and Experiment 2 found that main clauses facilitated probe recognition. Experiments 3 and 4 showed that named characters increased the processing efficiency of anaphoric references and facilitated probe recognition (younger adults only), whereas older adults displayed a primacy effect.
Andrew T Rider; Antoine Coutrot; Elizabeth Pellicano; Steven C Dakin; Isabelle Mareschal
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 166 , pp. 293–309, 2018.
To make sense of the visual world, we need to move our eyes to focus regions of interest on the high-resolution fovea. Eye movements, therefore, give us a way to infer mechanisms of visual processing and attention allocation. Here, we examined age-related differences in visual processing by recording eye movements from 37 children (aged 6–14 years) and 10 adults while viewing three 5-min dynamic video clips taken from child-friendly movies. The data were analyzed in two complementary ways: (a) gaze based and (b) content based. First, similarity of scanpaths within and across age groups was examined using three different measures of variance (dispersion, clusters, and distance from center). Second, content-based models of fixation were compared to determine which of these provided the best account of our dynamic data. We found that the variance in eye movements decreased as a function of age, suggesting common attentional orienting. Comparison of the different models revealed that a model that relies on faces generally performed better than the other models tested, even for the youngest age group (textless10 years). However, the best predictor of a given participant's eye movements was the average of all other participants' eye movements both within the same age group and in different age groups. These findings have implications for understanding how children attend to visual information and highlight similarities in viewing strategies across development.
Marie Rogers; Anna Franklin; Kenneth Knoblauch
In: Infancy, 23 (6), pp. 833–856, 2018.
How physical dimensions govern children's perception, language acquisition, and cognition is an important question in developmental science. Here, we use the psychophysical technique of maximum likelihood conjoint measurement (MLCM) as a novel approach to investigate how infants combine information distributed along two or more dimensions. MLCM is based on a signal detection model of decision that allows testing of several models of how observers integrate information to make choices. We tested 6‐month‐old infants' preferential looking to "green" stimuli that covaried in lightness and chroma and analyzed infant preferences using MLCM. The findings show that infant looking is driven primarily by lightness, with darker stimuli having a greater preference than lighter, plus a small but significant positive contribution of chroma. This study demonstrates that the technique of MLCM can be used in conjunction with preferential looking to investigate the salience of physical dimensions during development. The technique could now be applied to investigate the role of physical dimensions in key aspects of perceptual and cognitive development such as face recognition, language acquisition, and object recognition.
Christiane S Rohr; Anish Arora; Ivy Y K Cho; Prayash Katlariwala; Dennis Dimond; Deborah Dewey; Signe Bray
In: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 30 , pp. 200–211, 2018.
Children acquire attention skills rapidly during early childhood as their brains undergo vast neural development. Attention is well studied in the adult brain, yet due to the challenges associated with scanning young children, investigations in early childhood are sparse. Here, we examined the relationship between age, attention and functional connectivity (FC) during passive viewing in multiple intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) in 60 typically developing girls between 4 and 7 years whose sustained, selective and executive attention skills were assessed. Visual, auditory, sensorimotor, default mode (DMN), dorsal attention (DAN), ventral attention (VAN), salience, and frontoparietal ICNs were identified via Independent Component Analysis and subjected to a dual regression. Individual spatial maps were regressed against age and attention skills, controlling for age. All ICNs except the VAN showed regions of increasing FC with age. Attention skills were associated with FC in distinct networks after controlling for age: selective attention positively related to FC in the DAN; sustained attention positively related to FC in visual and auditory ICNs; and executive attention positively related to FC in the DMN and visual ICN. These findings suggest distributed network integration across this age range and highlight how multiple ICNs contribute to attention skills in early childhood.
Brian Scally; Melanie R Burke; David Bunce; Jean Francois Delvenne
In: Neurobiology of Aging, 65 , pp. 69–76, 2018.
Older adults typically experience reductions in the structural integrity of the anterior channels of the corpus callosum. Despite preserved structural integrity in central and posterior channels, many studies have reported that interhemispheric transfer, a function attributed to these regions, is detrimentally affected by aging. In this study, we use a constrained event-related potential analysis in the theta and alpha frequency bands to determine whether interhemispheric transfer is affected in older adults. The crossed-uncrossed difference and lateralized visual evoked potentials were used to assess interhemispheric transfer in young (18–27) and older adults (63–80). We observed no differences in the crossed-uncrossed difference measure between young and older groups. Older adults appeared to have elongated transfer in the theta band potentials, but this effect was driven by shortened contralateral peak latencies, rather than delayed ipsilateral latencies. In the alpha band, there was a trend toward quicker transfer in older adults. We conclude that older adults do not experience elongated interhemispheric transfer in the visuomotor or visual domains and that these functions are likely attributed to posterior sections of the corpus callosum, which are unaffected by aging.
Eric S Seemiller; Nicholas L Port; Rowan T Candy
The gaze stability of 4- to 10-week-old human infants Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, 18 (8), pp. 1–10, 2018.
The relationship between gaze stability, retinal image quality, and visual perception is complex. Gaze instability related to pathology in adults can cause a reduction in visual acuity (e.g., Chung, LaFrance, & Bedell, 2011). Conversely, poor retinal image quality and spatial vision may be a contributing factor to gaze instability (e.g., Ukwade & Bedell, 1993). Though much is known about the immaturities in spatial vision of human infants, little is currently understood about their gaze stability. To characterize the gaze stability of young infants, adult participants and 4- to 10-week-old infants were shown a dynamic random-noise stimulus for 30-s intervals while their eye positions were recorded binocularly. After removing adultlike saccades, we used 5-s epochs of stable intersaccade gaze to estimate bivariate contour ellipse area and standard deviations of vergence. The geometric means (with standard deviations) for infants' bivariate contour ellipse area were left eye = -0.697 ± 0.534 log(°2), right eye = -0.471 ± 0.367 log(°2). For binocular vergence stability, the infant geometric means (with standard deviations) were horizontal = -1.057 ± 0.743 log(°)
Paula Fischer; Letizia Camba; Seok Hui Ooi; Nicolas Chevalier
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173 , pp. 28–40, 2018.
Cognitive control is often engaged in social contexts where actions are socially relevant. Yet, little is known about the immediate influence of the social context on childhood cognitive control. To examine whether competition or cooperation can enhance cognitive control, preschool and school-age children completed the AX Continuous Performance Task (AX-CPT) in competitive, cooperative, and neutral contexts. Children made fewer errors, responded faster, and engaged more cognitive effort, as shown by greater pupil dilation, in the competitive and cooperative social contexts relative to the neutral context. Competition and cooperation yielded greater cognitive control engagement but did not change how control was engaged (reactively or proactively). Manipulating the social context can be a powerful tool to support cognitive control in childhood.
Tori E Foster; Scott P Ardoin; Katherine S Binder
In: Reading Research Quarterly, 53 (1), pp. 71–89, 2018.
Although strong claims have been made regarding the educational utility of eye tracking, such statements seem somewhat unfounded in the absence of clear evidence regarding the technical adequacy of eye movement (EM) data. Past studies have yielded direct and indirect evidence concerning the utility of EMs as measures of reading, but recent research explicitly investigating their reliability and validity has been lacking. The current study updates and extends past research by investigating the reliability and validity of recently used EM measures of children's reading. Participants were 175 second- grade students whose EMs were monitored during silent reading of narrative text(s) at two timepoints. Participants were also individually administered measures of reading achievement. Results indicate adequate reliability and validity for passage- level measures of fixation duration but suggest that elementary stu- dents' reading behaviors relative to specific words are weakly associated with their normative levels of reading achievement.
Melanie Gangl; Kristina Moll; Chiara Banfi; Stefan Huber; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Karin Landerl
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 174 , pp. 150–169, 2018.
Reading and spelling abilities are thought to be highly correlated during development, and orthographic knowledge is assumed to underpin both literacy skills. Interestingly, recent studies showed that reading and spelling skills can also dissociate. The current study investigated whether spelling skills (indicating orthographic knowledge) are associated with the application of orthographic strategies during reading. We examined eye movements of 137 third- and fourth-graders who were either good or poor readers with or without a spelling deficit: 43 children with typical reading and spelling skills, 28 with isolated spelling deficits, 28 with isolated reading deficits, and 38 with combined reading and spelling deficits. Although we expected to find reduced reliance on orthographic reading processes among poor spellers, this was evident for the group with combined deficits only. Both isolated deficit groups applied sublexical and lexical processes in a similar amount to typically developing children. Our findings suggest that reading rests on orthographic strategies even if lexical representations are poor as indicated by a deficit in spelling skills. Findings also show that dysfluent reading does not result only from overreliance on decoding.
Ying Gao; Carl Huber; Bernhard A Sabel
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 59 (5), pp. 2032–2041, 2018.
PURPOSE. To understand the effect of aging on microsaccade functions and brain physiologic responses, we quantified microsaccades and their physiologic correlates (including their interaction with alpha band brain oscillation) in normal subjects of different ages. METHODS. Twenty-two normally sighted young (18 to 29 years), 22 middle-aged (31 to 55 years), and 22 elderly subjects (56 to 77 years) participated in this cross-sectional study. Dense array EEG and high-resolution eye-tracking data were simultaneously recorded during a fixation task. We quantified microsaccade features, spike potential (SP), microsaccadic lambda response (MLR) and microsaccade-related spectral perturbation (ERSP), and intertrial coherence (ITC) in the alpha and beta frequency bands and compared them between three age groups. RESULTS. After microsaccade onset, (1) alpha band ERSP increased (100 to 150 ms) occipitally and ITC increased (150 to 220 ms) globally in the brain; (2) low beta ITC increased (150 to 220 ms) in occipital and central regions and peaked (0 to 50 ms) in frontal region; and (3) high beta ITC increased (0 to 50 ms) globally with no beta band ERSP changes. Microsaccade features, the latency and amplitude of SP and MLR, and microsaccade-related temporal-spectral power and synchronization dynamics were all stable across different age groups. CONCLUSIONS. Microsaccades are well preserved in aging and can be used as reference points for studying neurodegenerative or neuro-ophthalmologic diseases where the oculomotor system is affected. Microsaccade-induced alpha band activity is a potential biomarker to better understand and monitor these diseases, and we propose that microsaccades trigger ''cortical refreshment'' by resetting alpha band phase globally to prepare (sensitize) the brain for subsequent visual processing.
Nicola Grossheinrich; Christine Firk; Martin Schulte-Rüther; Andreas von Leupoldt; Kerstin Konrad; Lynn Huestegge
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 9 , pp. 1–10, 2018.
A negative mood-congruent attention bias has been consistently observed, for example, in clinical studies on major depression. This bias is assumed to be dysfunctional in that it supports maintaining a sad mood, whereas a potentially adaptive role has largely been neglected. Previous experiments involving sad mood induction techniques found a negative mood-congruent attention bias specifically for young individuals, explained by an adaptive need for information transfer in the service of mood regulation. In the present study we investigated the attentional bias in typically developing children (aged 6–12 years) when happy and sad moods were induced. Crucially, we manipulated the age (adult vs. child) of the displayed pairs of facial expressions depicting sadness, anger, fear and happiness. The results indicate that sad children indeed exhibited a mood specific attention bias toward sad facial expressions. Additionally, this bias was more pronounced for adult faces. Results are discussed in the context of an information gain which should be stronger when looking at adult faces due to their more expansive life experience. These findings bear implications for both research methods and future interventions.
Julia Habicht; Mareike Finke; Tobias Neher
In: Ear and Hearing, 39 (1), pp. 161–171, 2018.
Objectives: Using a longitudinal design, the present study sought to substantiate indications from two previous cross-sectional studies that hearing aid (HA) experience leads to improved speech processing abilities as quantified using eye-gaze measurements. Another aim was to explore potential concomitant changes in event-related potentials (ERPs) to speech stimuli. Design: Groups of elderly novice (novHA) and experienced (expHA) HA users matched in terms of age and working memory capacity participated. The novHA users were acclimatized to bilateral HA fittings for up to 24 weeks. The expHA users continued to use their own HAs during the same period. The participants' speech processing abilities were assessed after 0 weeks (novHA: N = 16; expHA: N = 14), 12 weeks (novHA: N = 16; expHA: N = 14), and 24 weeks (N = 10 each). To that end, an eye-tracking paradigm was used for estimating how quickly the participants could grasp the meaning of sentences presented against background noise together with two similar pictures that either correctly or incorrectly depicted the meaning conveyed by the sentences (the “processing time”). Additionally, ERPs were measured with an active oddball paradigm requiring the participants to categorize word stimuli as living (targets) or nonliving (nontargets) entities. For all measurements, the stimuli were spectrally shaped according to individual real-ear insertion gains and presented via earphones. Results: Concerning the processing times, no changes across time were found for the expHA group. After 0 weeks of HA use, the novHA group had significantly longer (poorer) processing times than the expHA group, consistent with previous findings. After 24 weeks, a significant mean improvement of ~30% was observed for the novHA users, leading to a performance comparable with that of the expHA group. Concerning the ERPs, no changes across time were found. Conclusions: The results from this exploratory study are consistent with the view that auditory acclimatization to HAs positively impacts speech comprehension in noise. Further research is needed to substantiate them.
Tuomo Häikiö; Seppo Vainio
In: Journal of Child Language, 45 (5), pp. 1227–1245, 2018.
Finnish is a language with simple syllable structure but rich morphology. It was investigated whether syllables or morphemes are preferred processing units in early reading. To this end, Finnish first- and second-grade children read sentences with embedded inflected target words while their eye-movements were registered. The target words were either in essive or inessive/adessive (i.e., locative) case. The target words were either non-hyphenated, or had syllable-congruent or syllable-incongruent hyphenation. For the locatives, the syllable-incongruent hyphenation coincided with the morpheme boundary, but this was not the case for the essives. It was shown that the second-graders were slowed down by hyphenation to a larger extent than first-graders. However, there was no slowdown in gaze duration for either age group when the syllable-incongruent hyphen was morpheme-congruent. These findings suggest that Finnish readers already utilize morpheme-level information during the first grade.
Michael P Harms; Leah H Somerville; Beau M Ances; Jesper Andersson; Deanna M Barch; Matteo Bastiani; Susan Y Bookheimer; Timothy B Brown; Randy L Buckner; Gregory C Burgess; Timothy S Coalson; Michael A Chappell; Mirella Dapretto; Gwenaëlle Douaud; Bruce Fischl; Matthew F Glasser; Douglas N Greve; Cynthia Hodge; Keith W Jamison; Saad Jbabdi; Sridhar Kandala; Xiufeng Li; Ross W Mair; Silvia Mangia; Daniel Marcus; Daniele Mascali; Steen Moeller; Thomas E Nichols; Emma C Robinson; David H Salat; Stephen M Smith; Stamatios N Sotiropoulos; Melissa Terpstra; Kathleen M Thomas; Dylan M Tisdall; Kamil Ugurbil; Andre van der Kouwe; Roger P Woods; Lilla Zöllei; David C Van Essen; Essa Yacoub
In: NeuroImage, 183 , pp. 972–984, 2018.
The Human Connectome Projects in Development (HCP-D) and Aging (HCP-A) are two large-scale brain imaging studies that will extend the recently completed HCP Young-Adult (HCP-YA) project to nearly the full lifespan, collecting structural, resting-state fMRI, task-fMRI, diffusion, and perfusion MRI in participants from 5 to 100+ years of age. HCP-D is enrolling 1300+ healthy children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 5–21), and HCP-A is enrolling 1200+ healthy adults (ages 36–100+), with each study collecting longitudinal data in a subset of individuals at particular age ranges. The imaging protocols of the HCP-D and HCP-A studies are very similar, differing primarily in the selection of different task-fMRI paradigms. We strove to harmonize the imaging protocol to the greatest extent feasible with the completed HCP-YA (1200+ participants, aged 22–35), but some imaging-related changes were motivated or necessitated by hardware changes, the need to reduce the total amount of scanning per participant, and/or the additional challenges of working with young and elderly populations. Here, we provide an overview of the common HCP-D/A imaging protocol including data and rationales for protocol decisions and changes relative to HCP-YA. The result will be a large, rich, multi-modal, and freely available set of consistently acquired data for use by the scientific community to investigate and define normative developmental and aging related changes in the healthy human brain.
Katja I Häuser; Vera Demberg; Jutta Kray
In: Psychology and Aging, 33 (8), pp. 1168–1180, 2018.
Even though older adults are known to have difficulty at language processing when a secondary task has to be performed simultaneously, few studies have addressed how older adults process language in dual-task demands when linguistic load is systematically varied. Here, we manipulated surprisal, an information theoretic measure that quantifies the amount of new information conveyed by a word, to investigate how linguistic load affects younger and older adults during early and late stages of sentence processing under conditions when attention is split between two tasks. In high-surprisal sentences, target words were implausible and mismatched with semantic expectancies based on context, thereby causing integration difficulty. Participants performed semantic meaningfulness judgments on sentences that were presented in isolation (single task) or while performing a secondary tracking task (dual task). Cognitive load was measured by means of pupillometry. Mixed-effects models were fit to the data, showing the following: (a) During the dual task, younger but not older adults demonstrated early sensitivity to surprisal (higher levels of cognitive load, indexed by pupil size) as sentences were heard online; (b) Older adults showed no immediate reaction to surprisal, but a delayed response, where their meaningfulness judgments to high-surprisal words remained stable in accuracy, while secondary tracking performance declined. Findings are discussed in relation to age-related trade-offs in dual tasking and differences in the allocation of attentional resources during language processing. Collectively, our data show that higher linguistic load leads to task trade-offs in older adults and differently affects the time course of online language processing in aging.
Jarkko Hautala; Carita Kiili; Yvonne Kammerer; Otto Loberg; Sanna Hokkanen; Paavo H T Leppänen
In: Behaviour and Information Technology, 37 (8), pp. 761–773, 2018.
Eye-tracking technology was used to examine Internet search result evaluation strategies adopted by sixth-grade students (N=36) during ten experimental information search tasks. The relevancy of the search result's title, WIBBLE, and snippet components was manipulated and selection of search results as well as looking into probabilities on the search result components was analysed. The results revealed that during first-pass inspection, students read the search engine page by first looking at the title of a search result. If the title was relevant, the probability of looking at the snippet of the search result increased. During second-pass inspection, there was a high probability of students focusing on the most promising search result by inspecting all of its components before making their selection. A cluster analysis revealed three viewing strategies: half of the students looked mainly at the titles and snippets; one-third with high probability examined all components; and one-sixth mainly focused on titles, leading to more frequent errors in search result selection. The results indicate that students generally made a flexible use of both eliminative and confirmatory evaluation strategies when reading Internet search results, while some seemed to not pay attention to snippet and WIBBLE components of the search results.
Wei He; Blake W Johnson
In: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 30 , pp. 13–22, 2018.
Electrophysiological studies of adults indicate that brain activity is enhanced during viewing of repeated faces, at a latency of about 250 ms after the onset of the face (M250/N250). The present study aimed to determine if this effect was also present in preschool-aged children, whose brain activity was measured in a custom-sized pediatric MEG system. The results showed that, unlike adults, face repetition did not show any significant modulation of M250 amplitude in children; however children's M250 latencies were significantly faster for repeated than non-repeated faces. Dynamic causal modelling (DCM) of the M250 in both age groups tested the effects of face repetition within the core face network including the occipital face area (OFA), the fusiform face area (FFA), and the superior temporal sulcus (STS). DCM revealed that repetition of identical faces altered both forward and backward connections in children and adults; however the modulations involved inputs to both FFA and OFA in adults but only to OFA in children. These findings suggest that the amplitude-insensitivity of the immature M250 may be due to a weaker connection between the FFA and lower visual areas.
Simone G Heideman; Gustavo Rohenkohl; Joshua J Chauvin; Clare E Palmer; Freek van Ede; Anna C Nobre
In: NeuroImage, 178 , pp. 46–56, 2018.
Spatial and temporal expectations act synergistically to facilitate visual perception. In the current study, we sought to investigate the anticipatory oscillatory markers of combined spatial-temporal orienting and to test whether these decline with ageing. We examined anticipatory neural dynamics associated with joint spatial-temporal orienting of attention using magnetoencephalography (MEG) in both younger and older adults. Participants performed a cued covert spatial-temporal orienting task requiring the discrimination of a visual target. Cues indicated both where and when targets would appear. In both age groups, valid spatial-temporal cues significantly enhanced perceptual sensitivity and reduced reaction times. In the MEG data, the main effect of spatial orienting was the lateralised anticipatory modulation of posterior alpha and beta oscillations. In contrast to previous reports, this modulation was not attenuated in older adults; instead it was even more pronounced. The main effect of temporal orienting was a bilateral suppression of posterior alpha and beta oscillations. This effect was restricted to younger adults. Our results also revealed a striking interaction between anticipatory spatial and temporal orienting in the gamma-band (60–75 Hz). When considering both age groups separately, this effect was only clearly evident and only survived statistical evaluation in the older adults. Together, these observations provide several new insights into the neural dynamics supporting separate as well as combined effects of spatial and temporal orienting of attention, and suggest that different neural dynamics associated with attentional orienting appear differentially sensitive to ageing.
Jenni Heikkilä; Kaisa Tiippana; Otto Loberg; Paavo H T Leppänen
In: Language Learning, 68 , pp. 58–79, 2018.
Seeing articulatory gestures enhances speech perception. Perception ofauditory speech can even be changed by incongruent visual gestures, which is known as the McGurk effect (e.g., dubbing a voice saying /mi/ onto a face articulating /ni/, observers often hear /ni/). In children, the McGurk effect is weaker than in adults, but no previous knowledge exists about the neural-level correlates of the McGurk effect in school-age children. Using brain event-related potentials, we investigated change detection responses to congruent and incongruent audiovisual speech in school-age children and adults. We used an oddball paradigm with a congruent audiovisual /mi/ as the standard stimulus and a congruent audiovisual /ni/ or McGurk A/mi/V/ni/ as the deviant stimulus. In adults, a similar change detection response was elicited by both deviant stimuli. In children, change detection responses differed between the congruent and the McGurk stimulus. This reflects a maturational difference in the influence of visual stimuli on auditory processing.
Victoria S Henbest; Kenn Apel
In: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61 (8), pp. 2015–2027, 2018.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the orthographic fast-mapping abilities of 5- and 6-year-old children across time to determine (a) growth in the ability to quickly acquire mental images of written words, (b) the effect of words' statistical regularities on the learning of written word images across time, (c) whether the statistical regularities of words impact children's eye movements during an orthographic fast-mapping task, and (d) the relation among written word learning and future literacy skills. Method: Twenty-eight 5- and 6-year-old children viewed and listened to 12 short stories while their eye movements were recorded across 2 time points (approximately 3 months apart). At each time point, objects in the stories represented 12 novel pseudowords differing in their phonotactic and orthotactic probabilities. After viewing each story, the children were asked to spell and identify the target pseudowords; they also completed a battery of literacy measures. Results: The children were able to quickly acquire mental orthographic representations of the novel written pseudowords as evidenced by their ability to identify and spell the target pseudowords after viewing the stories. This ability was related to future literacy performance and significantly improved over time. Performance on the orthographic fast- mapping tasks and the children's eye movements at Time 2 were influenced by the words' linguistic properties. Conclusions: This study adds to accumulating evidence that orthographic fast-mapping is largely influenced by the orthotactic probabilities of words. These findings, taken together with those from previous investigations, provide a rich amount of evidence indicating that children are statistical learners when developing their orthographic knowledge.
Yi Ting Huang
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173 , pp. 388–396, 2018.
Skilled reading requires coordinating real-time visual fixations, orthographic analyses, and phonological encoding across multiple words in sentences. These procedures are well studied in experienced readers, but less is known about their status during development. To investigate how visual properties influence the origins of coordinated processing, the current study combined rapid automatized naming (RAN) with an eye-tracking paradigm and compared the timing of fixations and vocalizations in typically developing adults and 6-year-old children. Within RAN displays, sequences varied visual features of items (i.e., similar such as p–q vs. dissimilar such as p–t) and their locations in rows (i.e., row-initial vs. row-medial positions). Adults and children accessed parafoveal preview of subsequent items when fixating on current items, leading to longer latency to speak for similar items compared with dissimilar ones. Both groups also vocalized previous items while fixating on current items, leading to longer eye–voice overlap for row-medial items compared with row-initial ones. Yet, relative to adults, children exhibited exaggerated delays in latency to speak from parafoveal preview and reduced eye–voice overlap due to row transitions. Together, this suggests that coordinated processing is present at the earliest points of development but that greater inexperience increases susceptibility to momentary visual hurdles. Relationships to previous work on real-time RAN performance in dyslexic adults and children are discussed.
Rebecca L Johnson; Elizabeth C Oehrlein; William L Roche
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44 (7), pp. 973–991, 2018.
The current study utilized the gaze-contingent boundary paradigm (Rayner, 1975) to examine the effects of predictability and parafoveal preview on reading behavior of developing readers. Participants ranging in age from 6- to 12-years-old read target words placed in a predictable or neutral context. Target words were manipulated to give either a valid identity preview, a visually similar preview that provided partial letter identity information, or a visually dissimilar preview where all of the letters were substituted. Developing readers fixated for a shorter duration on words in a predictable context. Furthermore, they showed significant preview effects and gained the most preview benefit from a full valid preview of the target word, especially within a predictable context. More skilled readers received more parafoveal information and relied less on context than less skilled readers. Implications for models of eye-movement control are discussed.
Holly S S L Joseph; Kate Nation
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 166 , pp. 190–211, 2018.
From mid-childhood onward, children learn hundreds of new words every year incidentally through reading. Yet little is known about this process and the circumstances in which vocabulary acquisition is maximized. We examined whether encountering novel words in semantically diverse, rather than semantically uniform, contexts led to better learning. Children aged 10 and 11 years read sentences containing novel words while their eye movements were monitored. Results showed a reduction in reading times over exposure for all children, but especially for those with good reading comprehension. There was no difference in reading times or in offline post-test performance for words encountered in semantically diverse and uniform contexts, but diversity did interact with reading comprehension skill. Contextual informativeness also affected reading behavior. We conclude that children acquire word knowledge from incidental reading, that children with better comprehension skills are more efficient and competent learners, and that although varying the semantic diversity of the reading episodes did not improve learning per se in our laboratory manipulation of diversity, diversity does affect reading behavior in less direct ways.
Yan Ying Ju; Yen Hsiu Liu; Chih Hsiu Cheng; Yu Lung Lee; Shih Tsung Chang; Chi Chin Sun; Hsin Yi Kathy Cheng
In: BMC Pediatrics, 18 (1), pp. 1–9, 2018.
Background: Data on visuomotor performance in combat training and the effects of combat training on visuomotor performance are limited. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a specially designed combat sports (CS) training program on the visuomotor performance levels of children. Methods: A pre–post comparative design was implemented. A total of 26 students aged 9–12 years underwent 40-min CS training sessions twice a week for 8 weeks during their physical education classes. The CS training program was designed by a karate coach and a motor control specialist. The other 30 students continued their regular activities and were considered as a control group. Each student's eye movement was monitored using an eye tracker, whereas the motor performance was measured using a target hitting system with a program-controlled microprocessor. The measurements were taken 8 weeks before (baseline), 1 day before (pretest), and 1 week after (posttest) the designated training program. The task used for evaluating these students was hitting or tracking random illuminated targets as rapidly as possible. A two-way analysis of variance [group(2) × time(3)] with repeated measures of time was performed for statistical analysis. Results: For the children who received combat training, although the eye response improvement was not significant, both the primary and secondary saccade onset latencies were significantly earlier compared to the children without combat training. Both groups of students exhibited improvement in their hit response times during the target hitting tasks. Conclusion: The current finding supported the notion that sports training efforts essentially enhance visuomotor function in children aged 9–12 years, and combat training facilitates an earlier secondary saccade onset.
Caroline Junge; Rianne van Rooijen; Maartje E J Raijmakers
In: Infancy, 23 (6), pp. 917–926, 2018.
While distributional learning has been successfully demonstrated for auditory categorization, this study tests whether this mechanism also applies to object categorization: Ten- month-olds (n = 38) were familiarized with either a unimodal or bimodal distribution of a visual continuum. Using automatic eye tracking, we assessed categorization through the alternating/nonalternating paradigm. For infants in the bimodal condition, their average dwell time was larger for alternating trials than for nonalternating trials, while infants in the unimodal condition initially looked equally long at both types of trials. This group difference suggests that the shape of frequency distribution bears on the number of categories that infants construct from a continuum. Later in test, all infants show this alternating preference. We conclude that categorization is a flexible process, continuously adjusting itself to additional input.
Breanna I Krueger; Holly L Storkel; Utako Minai
In: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61 (4), pp. 820–836, 2018.
Purpose: The purpose of the present studies was to determine how children's identification and processing of misarticulated words was influenced by substitution commonness. Method: Sixty-one typically developing preschoolers across 3 experiments heard accurate productions of words (e.g., “leaf”), words containing common substitutions (e.g., “weaf”), and words containing uncommon substitutions (e.g., “yeaf”). On each trial, preschoolers chose between a real object picture (e.g., a leaf) and a nonobject (e.g., an anomalous line drawing). Accuracy and processing were measured using MouseTracker and eye tracking. Results: Overall, children chose real objects significantly more when presented with accurate productions (e.g., “leaf”) than misarticulated productions (e.g., “weaf” or “yeaf”). Within misarticulation conditions, children chose real objects significantly more when hearing common misarticulations (e.g., “weaf”) than uncommon misarticulations (e.g., “yeaf”). Preschoolers identified words significantly faster and with greater certainty in accurate conditions than misarticulated conditions. Conclusions: The results of the present studies indicate that the commonness of substitutions influences children's identification of misarticulated words. Children hear common substitutions more frequently and therefore were supported in their identification of these words as real objects. The presence of substitutions, however, slowed reaction time when compared with accurate productions. Supplemental Material: https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5965510
Gustav Kuhn; Robert Teszka
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71 (3), pp. 688–694, 2018.
Previous research has revealed marked improvements in cognitive control between the age of 10 years and adulthood. The aim of the current study was to explore differences in attentional control between adults and children within a natural context, namely whilst they were watching a magic trick. We measured participants' eye movements whilst they watched a misdirection trick in which attentional misdirection was used to prevent observers from noticing a salient visual event. Half of our participants failed to detect this event even though it took place in full view. Children below the age of 10 were significantly less likely to notice the event than the adults and were also more reliably overtly misdirected (i.e., where they looked). Our results illustrate that within a more naturalistic context children are significantly more distracted than adults, and this distraction can have major implications on their visual awareness.
Rebecca K Lawrence; Mark Edwards; Stephanie C Goodhew
Changes in the spatial spread of attention with ageing Journal Article
In: Acta Psychologica, 188 , pp. 188–199, 2018.
Spatial attention is a necessary cognitive process, allowing for the direction of limited capacity resources to varying locations in the visual field for improved visual processing. Thus, understanding how ageing influences these processes is vital. The current study explored the relationship between the spatial spread of attention and healthy ageing using an inhibition of return task to tap visual attention processing. This task allowed us to measure the spatial distribution of inhibition, and thus acted as a marker for attentional spread. Past research has indicated minimal age differences in inhibitory spread. However, these studies used placeholder stimuli, which may have restricted the range over which age differences could be reliably measured. To address this, in Experiment One, we measured the relationship between the spatial spread of inhibition and healthy ageing using a method which did not employ placeholders. In contrast to past research, an age difference in inhibitory spread was observed, where in comparison to younger adults, older adults exhibited a relatively restricted spread of attention. Experiment Two then confirmed these findings, by directly comparing inhibitory spread for placeholder present and placeholder absent conditions, across younger and older adults. Again, it was found that age differences in inhibitory spread emerged, but only in the placeholder absent condition. Possible reasons for the observed age differences in attention are discussed.
Sha Li; Lin Li; Jingxin Wang; Victoria A McGowan; Kevin B Paterson
In: Psychology and Aging, 33 (4), pp. 685–692, 2018.
Effects of word length on where and for how long readers fixate within text are preserved in older age for alphabetic languages like English that use spaces to demarcate word boundaries. However, word length effects for older readers of naturally unspaced, character-based languages like Chinese are unknown. Accordingly, we examined age differences in eye movements for short (2-character) and long (4-character) words during Chinese reading. Word length effects on eye-fixation times were greater for older than younger adults. We suggest this age difference is due to older adults' saccades landing more rarely at optimal intraword locations, especially in longer words.
Dan Lin; Guangyao Chen; Yingyi Liu; Jiaxin Liu; Jue Pan; Lei Mo
In: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 47 (1), pp. 79–93, 2018.
Storybook reading is the major source of literacy exposure for beginning readers. The present study tracked 4-year-old Chinese children's eye movements while they were reading simulated storybook pages. Their eye-movement patterns were examined in relation to their word learning gains. The same reading list, consisting of 20 two-character Chinese words, was used in the pretest, 5-min eye-tracking learning session, and posttest. Additionally, visual spatial skill and phonological awareness were assessed in the pretest as cognitive controls. The results showed that the children's attention was attracted quickly by pictures, on which their attention was focused most, with only 13% of the time looking at words. Moreover, significant learning gains in word reading were observed, from the pretest to posttest, from 5-min exposure to simulated storybook pages with words, picture and pronunciation of two-character words present. Furthermore, the children's attention to words significantly predicted posttest reading beyond socioeconomic status, age, visual spatial skill, phonological awareness and pretest reading performance. This eye-movement evidence of storybook reading by children as young as four years, reading a non-alphabetic script (i.e., Chinese), has demonstrated exciting findings that children can learn words effectively with minimal exposure and little instruction; these findings suggest that learning to read requires attention to the basic words itself. The study contributes to our understanding of early reading acquisition with eye-movement evidence from beginning readers.
Zhong-Xu Liu; Kelly Shen; Rosanna K Olsen; Jennifer D Ryan
In: Neuropsychologia, 119 , pp. 81–91, 2018.
Deciphering the mechanisms underlying age-related memory declines remains an important goal in cognitive neuroscience. Recently, we observed that visual sampling behavior predicted activity within the hippocampus, a region critical for memory. In younger adults, increases in the number of gaze fixations were associated with increases in hippocampal activity (Liu et al., 2017). This finding suggests a close coupling between the oculomotor and memory system. However, the extent to which this coupling is altered with aging has not been investigated. In this study, we gave older adults the same face processing task used in Liu et al. (2017) and compared their visual exploration behavior and neural activation in the hippocampus and the fusiform face area (FFA) to those of younger adults. Compared to younger adults, older adults showed an increase in visual exploration as indexed by the number of gaze fixations. However, the relationship between visual exploration and neural responses in the hippocampus and FFA was weaker than that of younger adults. Older adults also showed weaker responses to novel faces and a smaller repetition suppression effect in the hippocampus and FFA compared to younger adults. All together, this study provides novel evidence that the capacity to bind visually sampled information, in real-time, into coherent representations along the ventral visual stream and the medial temporal lobe declines with aging.
Emily Atkinson; Matthew W Wagers; Jeffrey Lidz; Colin Phillips; Akira Omaki
Developing incrementality in filler-gap dependency processing Journal Article
In: Cognition, 179 , pp. 132–149, 2018.
Much work has demonstrated that children are able to use bottom-up linguistic cues to incrementally interpret sentences, but there is little understanding of the extent to which children's comprehension mechanisms are guided by top-down linguistic information that can be learned from distributional regularities in the input. Using a visual world eye tracking experiment and a corpus analysis, the current study investigates whether 5- and 6-year-old children incrementally assign interpretations to temporarily ambiguous wh-questions like What was Emily eating the cake with __? In the visual world eye-tracking experiment, adults demonstrated evidence for active dependency formation at the earliest region (i.e., the verb region), while 6-year-old children demonstrated a spill-over effect of this bias in the subsequent NP region. No evidence for this bias was found in 5-year-olds, although the speed of arrival at the ultimately correct instrument interpretation appears to be modulated by the vocabulary size. These results suggest that adult-like active formation of filler-gap dependencies begins to emerge around age 6. The corpus analysis of filler-gap dependency structures in adult corpora and child corpora demonstrate that the distributional regularities in either corpora are equally in favor of early, incremental completion of filler-gap dependencies, suggesting that the distributional information in the input is either not relevant to this incremental bias, or that 5-year-old children are somehow unable to recruit this information in real-time comprehension. Taken together, these findings shed light on the origin of the incremental processing bias in filler-gap dependency processing, as well as on the role of language experience and cognitive constraints in the development of incremental sentence processing mechanisms.
Emma L Axelsson; Rachelle L Dawson; Sharon Y Yim; Tashfia Quddus
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 9 , pp. 1–9, 2018.
Adults demonstrate enhanced memory for words encoded as belonging to themselves compared to those belonging to another. Known as the self-reference effect, there is evidence for the effect in children as young as three. Toddlers are efficient in linking novel words to novel objects, but have difficulties retaining multiple word-object associations. The aim here was to investigate the self-reference ownership paradigm on 3-year-old children's retention of novel words. Following exposure to each of four novel word-object pairings, children were told that objects either belonged to them or another character. Children demonstrated significantly higher immediate retention of self-referenced compared to other-referenced items. Retention was also tested 4 h later and the following morning. Retention for self- and other-referenced words was significantly higher than chance at both delayed time points, but the difference between the self- and other-referenced words was no longer significant. The findings suggest that when it comes to toddlers' retention of multiple novel words there is an initial memory enhancing effect for self- compared to other-referenced items, but the difference diminishes over time. Children's looking times during the self-reference presentations were positively associated with retention of self-referenced words 4 h later. Looking times during the other-reference presentations were positively associated with proportional looking at other-referenced items during immediate retention testing. The findings have implications for children's memory for novel words and future studies could test children's explicit memories for the ownership manipulation itself and whether the effect is superior to other forms of memory supports such as ostensive naming.
Emma L Axelsson; Jaclyn Swinton; Amanda I Winiger; Jessica S Horst
Napping and toddlers' memory for fast-mapped words Journal Article
In: First Language, 38 (6), pp. 582–595, 2018.
When toddlers hear a novel word, they quickly and independently link it with a novel object rather than known-name objects. However, they are less proficient in retaining multiple novel words. Sleep and even short naps can enhance declarative memory in adults and children and this study investigates the effect of napping on children's memory for novel words. Forty two-and-a-half-year-old children were presented with referent selection trials for four novel nouns. Children's retention of the words was tested immediately after referent selection, four hours later in the afternoon, and the following morning. Half of the toddlers napped prior to the afternoon retention test. Amongst the toddlers who napped, retention scores remained steady four hours after exposure and the following morning. In contrast, for the wake group, there was a steady decline in retention scores by the following morning and significantly lower retention scores compared to the nap group. Napping following exposure to novel word–object ...
Nicole D Ayasse; Arthur Wingfield
In: Trends in Hearing, 22 , 2018.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the relationship between effort and performance. Early formulations implied that, as the challenge of a task increases, individuals will exert more effort, with resultant maintenance of stable performance. We report an experiment in which normal-hearing young adults, normal-hearing older adults, and older adults with age-related mild-to-moderate hearing loss were tested for comprehension of recorded sentences that varied the comprehension challenge in two ways. First, sentences were constructed that expressed their meaning either with a simpler subject-relative syntactic structure or a more computationally demanding object-relative structure. Second, for each sentence type, an adjectival phrase was inserted that created either a short or long gap in the sentence between the agent performing an action and the action being performed. The measurement of pupil dilation as an index of processing effort showed effort to increase with task difficulty until a difficulty tipping point was reached. Beyond this point, the measurement of pupil size revealed a commitment of effort by the two groups of older adults who failed to keep pace with task demands as evidenced by reduced comprehension accuracy. We take these pupillometry data as revealing a complex relationship between task difficulty, effort, and performance that might not otherwise appear from task performance alone.
Chiara Banfi; Ferenc Kemény; Melanie Gangl; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Kristina Moll; Karin Landerl
In: PLoS ONE, 13 (6), pp. e0198903, 2018.
An impairment in the visual attention span (VAS) has been suggested to hamper reading performance of individuals with dyslexia. It is not clear, however, if the very nature of the deficit is visual or verbal and, importantly, if it affects spelling skills as well. The current study investigated VAS by means of forced choice tasks with letters and symbols in a sample of third and fourth graders with age-adequate reading and spelling skills (n= 43), a typical dyslexia profile with combined reading and spelling deficits (n= 26) and isolated spelling deficits (n= 32). The task was devised to contain low phonological short-term memory load and to overcome the limitations of oral reports. Notably, eye-movements were monitored to control that children fixated the center of the display when stimuli were presented. Results yielded no main effect of group as well as no group-related interactions, thus showing that children with dyslexia and isolated spelling deficits did not manifest a VAS deficit for letters or symbols once certain methodological aspects were controlled for. The present results could not replicate previous evidence for the involvement of VAS in reading and dyslexia.
Wesley R Barnhart; Samuel Rivera; Christopher W Robinson
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 9 , pp. 1–11, 2018.
Effects of linguistic labels on learning outcomes are well-established; however, developmental research examining possible mechanisms underlying these effects have provided mixed results. We used a novel paradigm where 8-year-olds and adults were simultaneously trained on three sparse categories (categories with many irrelevant or unique features and a single rule defining feature). Category members were either associated with the same label, different labels, or no labels (silent baseline). Similar to infant paradigms, participants passively viewed individual exemplars and we examined fixations to category relevant features across training. While it is well established that adults can optimize their attention in forced-choice categorization tasks without linguistic input, the present findings provide support for label induced attention optimization: simply hearing the same label associated with different exemplars was associated with increased attention to category relevant features over time, and participants continued to focus on these features on a subsequent recognition task. Participants also viewed images longer and made more fixations when images were paired with unique labels. These findings provide support for the claim that labels may facilitate categorization by directing attention to category relevant features.
Wesley R Barnhart; Samuel Rivera; Christopher W Robinson
Different patterns of modality dominance across development Journal Article
In: Acta Psychologica, 182 , pp. 154–165, 2018.
The present study sought to better understand how children, young adults, and older adults attend and respond to multisensory information. In Experiment 1, young adults were presented with two spoken words, two pictures, or two word-picture pairings and they had to determine if the two stimuli/pairings were exactly the same or different. Pairing the words and pictures together slowed down visual but not auditory response times and delayed the latency of first fixations, both of which are consistent with a proposed mechanism underlying auditory dominance. Experiment 2 examined the development of modality dominance in children, young adults, and older adults. Cross-modal presentation attenuated visual accuracy and slowed down visual response times in children, whereas older adults showed the opposite pattern, with cross-modal presentation attenuating auditory accuracy and slowing down auditory response times. Cross-modal presentation also delayed first fixations in children and young adults. Mechanisms underlying modality dominance and multisensory processing are discussed.
Nathalie N Bélanger; Michelle Lee; Elizabeth R Schotter
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71 (1), pp. 291–301, 2018.
Recent evidence suggests that deaf people have enhanced visual attention to simple stimuli in the parafovea in comparison to hearing people. Although a large part of reading involves processing the fixated words in foveal vision, readers also utilize information in parafoveal vision to pre-process upcoming words and decide where to look next. We investigated whether auditory deprivation affects low-level visual processing during reading, and compared the perceptual span of deaf signers who were skilled and less skilled readers to that of skilled hearing readers. Compared to hearing readers, deaf readers had a larger perceptual span than would be expected by their reading ability. These results provide the first evidence that deaf readers' enhanced attentional allocation to the parafovea is used during a complex cognitive task such as reading.
Jutta Billino; Goedele van Belle; Bruno Rossion; Gudrun Schwarzer
In: Cognitive Development, 47 , pp. 168–180, 2018.
The development of individual face recognition has been intensively studied and supports early expertise in childhood. However, how the differential use of holistic and analytical face processing modes contribute to the well-documented prolonged development of individual face recognition until adulthood remains poorly understood. We applied a gaze-contingency approach to study individual face recognition in 5-year-old children and young adults, allowing selective manipulation of processing modes and providing insights into facial information use through fixation patterns. Although both age groups relied on similar processing modes, children were less efficient in compensating for processing manipulations, in particular when analytical processing was emphasized. They were also less flexible in using facial information. Our findings suggest that efficiency in adaptively exploiting visual information contributes to still developing individual face recognition abilities in children.
Abdullah Bin Zahid; Molly E Hubbard; Julia Lockyer; Olivia E Podolak; Vikalpa M Dammavalam; Matthew Grady; Michael Nance; Mitchell Scheiman; Uzma Samadani; Christina L Master
Eye tracking as a biomarker for concussion in children Journal Article
In: Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, pp. 1–11, 2018.
OBJECTIVE: Concussion is the most common type of brain injury in both pediatric and adult populations and can potentially result in persistent postconcussion symptoms. Objective assessment of physiologic "mild" traumatic brain injury in concussion patients remains challenging. This study evaluates an automated eye-tracking algorithm as a biomarker for concussion as defined by its symptoms and the clinical signs of convergence insufficiency and accommodation dysfunction in a pediatric population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional case-control study. SETTING: Primary care. PATIENTS: Concussed children (N = 56; mean age = 13 years), evaluated at a mean of 22-week post-injury, compared with 83 uninjured controls. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: Metrics comparing velocity and conjugacy of eye movements over time were obtained and were compared with the correlation between Acute Concussion Evaluation (ACE) scores, convergence, and accommodation dysfunction. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Subjects' eye movements recorded with an automated eye tracker while they watched a 220-second cartoon film clip played continuously while moving within an aperture. RESULTS: Twelve eye-tracking metrics were significantly different between concussed and nonconcussed children. A model to classify concussion as diagnosed by its symptoms assessed using the ACE achieved an area under the curve (AUC) = 0.854 (71.9% sensitivity, 84.4% specificity, a cross-validated AUC = 0.789). An eye-tracking model built to identify near point of convergence (NPC) disability achieved 95.8% specificity and 57.1% sensitivity for an AUC = 0.810. Reduced binocular amplitude of accommodation had a Spearman correlation of 0.752(P value textless0.001) with NPC. CONCLUSION: Eye tracking correlated with concussion symptoms and detected convergence and accommodative abnormalities associated with concussion in the pediatric population. It demonstrates utility as a rapid, objective, noninvasive aid in the diagnosis of concussion.
James Blundella; Steven Frissona; Anupam Chakrapani; Paul Gissenc; Chris Hendriksz; Suresh Vijay; Andrew Olson
Oculomotor abnormalities in children with Niemann-Pick type C Journal Article
In: Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 123 (2), pp. 159–168, 2018.
Niemann-Pick type C (NP-C) is a rare recessive disorder associated with progressive supranuclear gaze palsy. Degeneration occurs initially for vertical saccades and later for horizontal saccades. There are studies of oculo- motor degeneration in adult NP-C patients [1, 2] but no comparable studies in children. We used high-resolution video-based eye tracking to record monocular vertical and horizontal eye movements in 2 neurological NP-C pa- tients (children with clinically observable oculomotor abnormalities) and 3 pre-neurological NP-C patients (children without clinically observable oculomotor abnormalities). Saccade onset latency, saccade peak velocity and saccade curvature were compared to healthy controls (N= 77). NP-C patients had selective impairments of vertical sac- cade peak velocity and vertical saccade curvature, with slower peak velocities and greater curvature. Changes were more pronounced in neurological than pre-neurological patients, showing that these measures are sensitive to disease progress, but abnormal curvature and slowed downward saccades were present in both groups, showing that eye- tracking can register disease-related changes before these are evident in a clinical exam. Both slowing, curvature and the detailed characteristics of the curvature we observed are predicted by the detailed characteristics of RIMLF population codes. Onset latencies were not different from healthy controls. High-resolution video-based eye tracking is a promising sensitive and objective method to measure NP-C disease severity and neurological onset. It may also help evaluate responses to therapeutic interventions.
Rudolf Burggraaf; Josef N van der Geest; Maarten A Frens; Ignace T C Hooge
Visual search accelerates during adolescence Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, 18 (5), pp. 1–11, 2018.
We studied changes in visual-search performance and behavior during adolescence. Search performance was analyzed in terms of reaction time and response accuracy. Search behavior was analyzed in terms of the objects fixated and the duration of these fixations. A large group of adolescents (N ¼ 140; age: 12-19 years; 47% female, 53% male) participated in a visual-search experiment in which their eye movements were recorded with an eye tracker. The experiment consisted of 144 trials (50% with a target present), and participants had to decide whether a target was present. Each trial showed a search display with 36 Gabor patches placed on a hexagonal grid. The target was a vertically oriented element with a high spatial frequency. Nontargets differed from the target in spatial frequency, orientation, or both. Search performance and behavior changed during adolescence; with increasing age, fixation duration and reaction time decreased. Response accuracy, number of fixations, and selection of elements to fixate upon did not change with age. Thus, the speed of foveal discrimination increases with age, while the efficiency of peripheral selection does not change. We conclude that the way visual information is gathered does not change during adolescence, but the processing of visual information becomes faster.
Sarah E Burke; Immanuel Babu Henry Samuel; Qing Zhao; Jackson Cagle; Ronald A Cohen; Benzi Kluger; Mingzhou Ding
In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 10 , pp. 1–7, 2018.
Cognitive fatigue and cognitive fatigability are distinct constructs. Cognitive fatigue reflects perception of cognitive fatigue outside of the context of activity level and duration and can be reliably assessed via established instruments such as the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS). In contrast, cognitive fatigability reflects change in fatigue levels quantified within the context of the level and duration of cognitive activity, and currently there are no reliable measures of cognitive fatigability. A recently published scale, the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale (PFS), attempts to remedy this problem with a focus on the aged population. While the physical fatigability subscore of PFS has been validated using physical activity derived measures, the mental fatigability subscore of PFS remains to be tested against equivalent measures derived from cognitive activities. To this end, we recruited 35 older, healthy adult participants (mean age 73.77 ± 5.9) to complete the PFS as well as a prolonged continuous performance of a Stroop task (textgreater2 h). Task-based assessments included time-on-task changes in self-reported fatigue scores (every 20 min), reaction time, and pupil diameter. Defining subjective fatigability, behavioral fatigability, and physiologic/autonomic fatigability to be the slope of change over time-on-task in the above three assessed variables, we found that the PFS mental subscore was not correlated with any of the three task-based fatigability measures. Instead, the PFS mental subscore was correlated with trait level fatigue measures FSS ($rho$ = 0.63, p textless 0.001), and MFIS cognitive subsection ($rho$ = 0.36
Cynthia Y H Chan; Antoni B Chan; Tatia M C Lee; Janet H Hsiao
In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25 (6), pp. 2200–2207, 2018.
The Hidden Markov Modeling approach for eye-movement data analysis is able to quantitatively assess differences and similarities among individual patterns. Here we applied this approach to examine the relationships between eye-movement patterns in face recognition and age-related cognitive decline. We found that significantly more older than young adults adopted "holistic" patterns, in which most eye fixations landed around the face center, as opposed to "analytic" patterns, in which eye movements switched among the two eyes and the face center. Participants showing analytic patterns had better performance than those with holistic patterns regardless ofage. Interestingly, older adults with lower cognitive status (as assessed by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment), particularly in executive and visual attention functioning (as assessed by Tower of London and Trail Making Tests) were associated with a higher likelihood of holistic patterns. This result suggests the possibility of using eye movements as an easily deployable screening assessment for cognitive decline in older adults.
Benjamin Denkinger; Madeline Kinn
Own-age bias and positivity effects in facial recognition Journal Article
In: Experimental Aging Research, 44 (5), pp. 411–426, 2018.
Background/Study Context - In the current study, we evaluated two age-related differences in recognition memory: the own-age bias, wherein older and younger adults best recognize those of their own age group, and an age-related positivity effect, wherein older adults recall positive emotional information better than negative information relative to younger adults. We sought to extend previous research that jointly investigated these variables in recognition memory. Methods - Younger (age 18 – 27) and older (age 62 – 80) adults completed an incidental encoding task on a sequence of 50 positive, negative, or neutrally valenced images of older and younger adult faces. After a distractor task, participants made forced-choice recog- nition judgments and rated their decision confidence for images that were repeated with the same or a different emotional expression, and for novel, previously unseen faces. Results – Older and younger adults' recognition discriminability did not differ significantly between age groups. Notably, the data indi- cated an own-age bias in young adults, but not in older adults, and both age groups' recognition accuracy was greatest for faces that had originally been shown with a positive emotional expression. Conclusion - To our knowledge, this research is the first to demonstrate an own-age recognition bias in younger adults for emotional faces. Although our predictions of a differential impact by emotional faces on recognition of same and other-age faces were not supported, we identify a number of factors that contextualize these findings in the recent literature.
Moussa Diarra; Benjamin Rich Zendel; Jessica Benady‑Chorney; Caroll‑Ann Blanchette; Franco Lepore; Isabelle Peretz; Sylvie Belleville; Gregory L West
In: Experimental Brain Research, pp. 1–11, 2018.
Aging is associated with cognitive decline and decreased capacity to inhibit distracting information. Video game training holds promise to increase inhibitory mechanisms in older adults. In the current study, we tested the impact of 3D-platform video game training on performance in an antisaccade task and on related changes in grey matter within the frontal eye fields (FEFs) of older adults. An experimental group (VID group) engaged in 3D-platform video game training over a period of 6 months, while an active control group was trained on piano lessons (MUS group), and a no-contact control group did not participate in any intervention (CON group). Increased performance in oculomotor inhibition, as measured by the antisaccade task, and increased grey matter in the right FEF was observed uniquely in the VID group. These results demonstrate that 3D-platform video game training can improve inhibitory control known to decline with age.
Sarah Eilers; Simon P Tiffin-Richards; Sascha Schroeder
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 173 , pp. 250–267, 2018.
In two eye tracking experiments, we tested fourth graders' and adults' sensitivity to gender feature mismatches during reading of pronouns and their susceptibility to interference of feature-matching entities in the sentence. In Experiment 1, we showed children and adults two-phrase sentences such as “Leonm/Lisaf shooed away the sparrowm/the seagullf and then hem ate the tasty sandwich.” Eye tracking measures showed no qualitative differences between children's and adults' processing of the pronouns. Both age groups showed longer gaze durations on subject mismatching than on matching pronouns, and there was no evidence of interference of a gender-matching object. Strikingly, in contrast to the adults, not all fourth graders reported detection of the subject gender mismatch. In Experiment 2, we replicated earlier results with a larger sample of children (N = 75) and found that only half of the fourth graders detected the gender mismatch during reading. The detectors' reading pattern at the pronoun differed from that of the non-detectors. Children who reported detection of the mismatch showed a reading pattern more similar to the adults. Children who did not report detection of the mismatch had comparably slower gaze durations and were less likely to make regressions directly at the pronoun. We conclude that children who read more fluently use their available processing resources to immediately repair grammatical inconsistencies encountered in a text.
Kris Evers; Goedele Van Belle; Jean Steyaert; Ilse Noens; Johan Wagemans
In: Child Development, 89 (2), pp. 430–445, 2018.
The strength of holistic face perception in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was evaluated byapplying the gaze-contingent mask and window technique to a face matching and discrimination task in 6- to14-year-old children with (n = 36) and without ASD (n = 47), and by examining ﬁxation patterns. Behavioralresults suggested a slower and less efﬁcient face processing in the ASD sample compared with the matchedcontrol group. Comparing the moving mask and window conditions revealed a reduced holistic face process-ing bias in the younger age group but not in the older sample. Preferential viewing patterns revealed bothsimilarities and differences between both participant groups.
Fabrice Damon; David Méary; Paul C Quinn; Kang Lee; Elizabeth A Simpson; Annika Paukner; Stephen J Suomi; Olivier Pascalis
In: Scientific Reports, 7 , pp. 46303, 2017.
Human adults and infants show a preference for average faces, which could stem from a general processing mechanism and may be shared among primates. However, little is known about preference for facial averageness in monkeys. We used a comparative developmental approach and eye-tracking methodology to assess visual attention in human and macaque infants to faces naturally varying in their distance from a prototypical face. In Experiment 1, we examined the preference for faces relatively close to or far from the prototype in 12-month-old human infants with human adult female faces. Infants preferred faces closer to the average than faces farther from it. In Experiment 2, we measured the looking time of 3-month-old rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) viewing macaque faces varying in their distance from the prototype. Like human infants, macaque infants looked longer to faces closer to the average. In Experiments 3 and 4, both species were presented with unfamiliar categories of faces (i.e., macaque infants tested with adult macaque faces; human infants and adults tested with infant macaque faces) and showed no prototype preferences, suggesting that the prototypicality effect is experience-dependent. Overall, the findings suggest a common processing mechanism across species, leading to averageness preferences in primates.
Noor Z Al Dahhan; John R Kirby; Donald C Brien; Douglas P Munoz
In: Journal of Learning Disabilities, 50 (3), pp. 275–285, 2017.
Abstract Naming speed (NS) refers to how quickly and accurately participants name a set of familiar stimuli (e.g., letters). NS is an established predictor of reading ability, but controversy remains over why it is related to reading. We used three techniques (stimulus manipulations to emphasize phonological and/or visual aspects, decomposition of NS times into pause and articulation components, and analysis of eye movements during task performance) with three groups of participants (children with dyslexia, ages 9–10; chronological-age [CA] controls, ages 9–10; reading-level [RL] controls, ages 6–7) to examine NS and the NS–reading relationship. Results indicated (a) for all groups, increasing visual similarity of the letters decreased letter naming efficiency and increased naming errors, saccades, regressions (rapid eye movements back to letters already fixated), pause times, and fixation durations; (b) children with dyslexia performed like RL controls and were less efficient, had longer articulation times, pause times, fixation durations, and made more errors and regressions than CA controls; and (c) pause time and fixation duration were the most powerful predictors of reading. We conclude that NS is related to reading via fixation durations and pause times: Longer fixation durations and pause times reflect the greater amount of time needed to acquire visual/orthographic information from stimuli and prepare the correct response.
Cathleen Bache; Anne Springer; Hannes Noack; Waltraud Stadler; Franziska Kopp; Ulman Lindenberger; Markus Werkle-Bergner
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 8 , pp. 1–18, 2017.
Research has shown that infants are able to track a moving target efficiently – even if it is transiently occluded from sight. This basic ability allows prediction of when and where events happen in everyday life. Yet, it is unclear whether, and how, infants internally represent the time course of ongoing movements to derive predictions. In this study, 10-month-old crawlers observed the video of a same-aged crawling baby that was transiently occluded and reappeared in either a temporally continuous or non-continuous manner (i.e., delayed by 500 ms vs. forwarded by 500 ms relative to the real-time movement). Eye movement and rhythmic neural brain activity (EEG) were measured simultaneously. Eye movement analyses showed that infants were sensitive to slight temporal shifts in movement continuation after occlusion. Furthermore, brain activity associated with sensorimotor processing differed between observation of continuous and non-continuous movements. Early sensitivity to an action's timing may hence be explained within the internal real-time simulation account of action observation. Overall, the results support the hypothesis that 10-month-old infants are well prepared for internal representation of the time course of observed movements that are within the infants' current motor repertoire.
Chiara Banfi; Ferenc Kemény; Melanie Gangl; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Kristina Moll; Karin Landerl
In: PLoS ONE, 12 (7), pp. e0180358, 2017.
Dyslexia has been claimed to be causally related to deficits in visuo-spatial attention. In particular, inefficient shifting of visual attention during spatial cueing paradigms is assumed to be associated with problems in graphemic parsing during sublexical reading. The current study investigated visuo-spatial attention performance in an exogenous cueing paradigm in a large sample (N = 191) of third and fourth graders with different reading and spelling profiles (controls, isolated reading deficit, isolated spelling deficit, combined deficit in reading and spelling). Once individual variability in reaction times was taken into account by means of z-transformation, a cueing deficit (i.e. no significant difference between valid and invalid trials) was found for children with combined deficits in reading and spelling. However, poor readers without spelling problems showed a cueing effect comparable to controls, but exhibited a particularly strong right-over-left advantage (position effect). Isolated poor spellers showed a significant cueing effect, but no position effect. While we replicated earlier findings of a reduced cueing effect among poor nonword readers (indicating deficits in sublexical processing), we also found a reduced cueing effect among children with particularly poor orthographic spelling (indicating deficits in lexical processing). Thus, earlier claims of a specific association with nonword reading could not be confirmed. Controlling for ADHD-symptoms reported in a parental questionnaire did not impact on the statistical analysis, indicating that cueing deficits are not caused by more general attentional limitations. Between 31 and 48% of participants in the three reading and/or spelling deficit groups as well as 32% of the control group showed reduced spatial cueing. These findings indicate a significant, but moderate association between certain aspects of visuo-spatial attention and subcomponents of written language processing, the causal status of which is yet unclear.
Rachel J Bennetts; Joseph A Mole; Sarah Bate
In: Cognitive Neuropsychology, 34 (6), pp. 357–376, 2017.
Face recognition abilities vary widely. While face recognition deficits have been reported in children, it is unclear whether superior face recognition skills can be encountered during development. This paper presents O.B., a 14-year-old female with extraordinary face recognition skills: a “super-recognizer” (SR). O.B. demonstrated exceptional face-processing skills across multiple tasks, with a level of performance that is comparable to adult SRs. Her superior abilities appear to be specific to face identity: She showed an exaggerated face inversion effect and her superior abilities did not extend to object processing or non-identity aspects of face recognition. Finally, an eye-movement task demonstrated that O.B. spent more time than controls examining the nose - a pattern previously reported in adult SRs. O.B. is therefore particularly skilled at extracting and using identity-specific facial cues, indicating that face and object recognition are dissociable during development, and that super recognition can be detected in adolescence.
Elika Bergelson; Richard N Aslin
Nature and origins of the lexicon in 6-mo-olds Journal Article
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114 (49), pp. 12916–12921, 2017.
Recent research reported the surprising finding that even 6-mo-olds understand common nouns [Bergelson E, Swingley D (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:3253-3258]. However, is their early lexicon structured and acquired like older learners? We test 6-mo-olds for a hallmark of the mature lexicon: cross-word relations. We also examine whether properties of the home environment that have been linked with lexical knowledge in older children are detectable in the initial stage of comprehension. We use a new dataset, which includes in-lab comprehension and home measures from the same infants. We find evidence for cross-word structure: On seeing two images of common nouns, infants looked significantly more at named target images when the competitor images were semantically unrelated (e.g., milk and foot) than when they were related (e.g., milk and juice), just as older learners do. We further find initial evidence for home-lab links: common noun "copresence" (i.e., whether words' referents were present and attended to in home recordings) correlated with in-lab comprehension. These findings suggest that, even in neophyte word learners, cross-word relations are formed early and the home learning environment measurably helps shape the lexicon from the outset.
David Buttelmann; Andy Schieler; Nicole Wetzel; Andreas Widmann
In: Infant Behavior and Development, 47 , pp. 103–111, 2017.
When observing a novel action, infants pay attention to the model's constraints when deciding whether to imitate this action or not. Gergely et al. (2002) found that more 14-month-olds copied a model's use of her head to operate a lamp when she used her head while her hands were free than when she had to use this means because it was the only means available to her (i.e., her hands were occupied). The perceptional distraction account (Beisert et al., 2012) claims that differences between conditions in terms of the amount of attention infants paid to the modeled action caused the differences in infants' performance between conditions. In order to investigate this assumption we presented 14-month-olds (N = 34) with an eye-tracking paradigm and analyzed their looking behavior when observing the head-touch demonstration in the two original conditions. Subsequently, they had the chance to operate the apparatus themselves, and we measured their imitative responses. In order to explore the perceptional processes taking place in this paradigm in adulthood, we also presented adults (N = 31) with the same task. Apart from the fact that we did not replicate the findings in imitation with our participants, the eye-tracking results do not support the perceptional distraction account: infants did not statistically differ − not even tendentially − in their amount of looking at the modeled action in both conditions. Adults also did not statistically differ in their looking at the relevant action components. However, both groups predominantly observed the relevant head action. Consequently, infants and adults do not seem to attend differently to constrained and unconstrained modelled actions.
Laura Cacciamani; Erica Wager; Mary A Peterson; Paige E Scalf
In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9 , pp. 1–15, 2017.
The perirhinal cortex (PRC) is a medial temporal lobe (MTL) structure known to be involved in assessing whether an object is familiar (i.e., meaningful) or novel. Recent evidence shows that the PRC is sensitive to the familiarity of both whole object configurations and their parts, and suggests the PRC may modulate part familiarity responses in V2. Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated age-related decline in the PRC's sensitivity to part/configuration familiarity and assessed its functional connectivity to visual cortex in young and older adults. Participants categorized peripherally presented silhouettes as familiar ("real-world") or novel. Part/configuration familiarity was manipulated via three silhouette configurations: Familiar (parts/configurations familiar), Control Novel (parts/configurations novel), and Part-Rearranged Novel (parts familiar, configurations novel). "Real-world" judgments were less accurate than "novel" judgments, although accuracy did not differ between age groups. The fMRI data revealed differential neural activity, however: In young adults, a linear pattern of activation was observed in left hemisphere (LH) PRC, with Familiar textgreater Control Novel textgreater Part-Rearranged Novel. Older adults did not show this pattern, indicating age-related decline in the PRC's sensitivity to part/configuration familiarity. A functional connectivity analysis revealed a significant coupling between the PRC and V2 in the LH in young adults only. Older adults showed a linear pattern of activation in the temporopolar cortex (TPC), but no evidence of TPC-V2 connectivity. This is the first study to demonstrate age-related decline in the PRC's representations of part/configuration familiarity and its covariance with visual cortex.
Lillian Chien; Rong Liu; Christopher Girkin; Miyoung Kwon
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 58 (14), pp. 6221–6231, 2017.
Purpose: Growing evidence suggests the involvement of the macula even in early stages of glaucoma. However, little is known about the impact of glaucomatous macular damage on central pattern vision. Here we examine the contrast requirement for letter recognition and its relationship with retinal thickness in the macular region. Methods: A total of 40 participants were recruited: 13 patients with glaucoma (mean age = 65.6 +/- 6.6 years), 14 age-similar normally sighted adults (59.1 +/- 9.1 years), and 13 young normally sighted adults (21.0 +/- 2.0 years). For each participant, letter-recognition contrast thresholds were obtained using a letter recognition task in which participants identified English letters presented at varying retinal locations across the central 12 degrees visual field, including the fovea. The macular retinal ganglion cell plus inner plexiform (RGC+) layer thickness was also evaluated using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Results: Compared to age-similar normal controls, glaucoma patients exhibited a significant increase in letter-recognition contrast thresholds (by 236%, P textless 0.001) and a significant decrease in RGC+ layer thickness (by 17%, P textless 0.001) even after controlling for age, pupil diameter, and visual acuity. Compared to normal young adults, older adults showed a significant increase in letter-recognition contrast thresholds and a significant decrease in RGC+ layer thickness. Across all subjects, the thickness of macular RGC+ layer was significantly correlated with letter-recognition contrast thresholds, even after correcting for pupil diameter and visual acuity (r = -0.65, P textless 0.001). Conclusions: Our results show that both glaucoma and normal aging likely bring about a thinning of the macular RGC+ layer; the macular RGC+ layer thickness appears to be associated with the contrast requirements for letter recognition in central vision.
Wonil Choi; Matthew W Lowder; Fernanda Ferreira; Tamara Y Swaab; John M Henderson
In: Psychology and Aging, 32 (3), pp. 232–242, 2017.
Previous eye-tracking research has characterized older adults' reading patterns as "risky," arguing that compared to young adults, older adults skip more words, have longer saccades, and are more likely to regress to previous portions of the text. In the present eye-tracking study, we reexamined the claim that older adults adopt a risky reading strategy, utilizing the boundary paradigm to manipulate parafoveal preview and contextual predictability of a target word. Results showed that older adults had longer fixation durations compared to young adults; however, there were no age differences in skipping rates, saccade length, or proportion of regressions. In addition, readers showed higher skipping rates of the target word if the preview string was a word than if it was a nonword, regardless of age. Finally, the effect of predictability in reading times on the target word was larger for older adults than for young adults. These results suggest that older adults' reading strategies are not as risky as was previously claimed. Instead, we propose that older adults can effectively combine top-down information from the sentence context with bottom-up information from the parafovea to optimize their reading strategies.
Antonios I Christou; Yvonne Wallis; Hayley Bair; Maurice Zeegers; Joseph P McCleery
In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11 , pp. 1–12, 2017.
Previous studies have documented the 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms as genetic variants that are involved in serotonin availability and also associated with emotion regulation and facial emotion processing. In particular, neuroimaging and behavioral studies of healthy populations have produced evidence to suggest that carriers of the Short allele exhibit heightened neurophysiological and behavioral reactivity when processing aversive stimuli, particularly in brain regions involved in fear. However, an additional distinction has emerged in the field, which highlights particular types of fearful information, i.e., aversive information which involves a social component versus non-social aversive stimuli. Although processing of each of these stimulus types (social and non-social) is believed to involve a subcortical neural system which includes the amygdala, evidence also suggests that the amygdala itself may be particularly responsive to socially significant environmental information, potentially due to the critical relevance of social information for humans. Examining individual differences in neurotransmitter systems which operate within this subcortical network, and in particular the serotonin system, may be critically informative for furthering our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying responses to emotional and affective stimuli. In the present study we examine visual scanning patterns in response to both aversive and positive images of a social or non-social nature in relation to 5-HTTLPR genotypes, in 49 children aged 4-7 years. Results indicate that children with at least one Short 5-HTTLPR allele spent less time fixating the threat-related non-social stimuli, compared with participants with two copies of the Long allele. Interestingly, a separate set of analyses suggests that carriers of two copies of the short 5-HTTLPR allele also spent less time fixating both the negative and positive non-social stimuli. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that genetically mediated differences in serotonin availability mediate behavioral responses to different types of emotional stimuli in young children.
Trevor J Crawford; Eleanor S Smith; Donna M Berry
In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11 , pp. 1–10, 2017.
Eye-tracking is increasingly studied as a cognitive and biological marker for the early signs of neuropsychological and psychiatric disorders. However, in order to make further progress, a more comprehensive understanding of the age-related effects on eye- tracking is essential. The antisaccade task requires participants to make saccadic eye movements away from a prepotent stimulus. Speculation on the cause of the observed age-related differences in the antisaccade task largely centers around two sources of cognitive dysfunction: inhibitory control (IC) and working memory (WM). The IC account views cognitive slowing and task errors as a direct result of the decline of inhibitory cognitive mechanisms. An alternative theory considers that a deterioration of WM is the cause of these age-related effects on behavior. The current study assessed IC and WM processes underpinning saccadic eye movements in young and older participants. This was achieved with three experimental conditions that systematically varied the extent to which WM and IC were taxed in the antisaccade task: a memory-guided task was used to explore the effect of increasing the WM load; a Go/No-Go task was used to explore the effect of increasing the inhibitory load; a ‘standard' antisaccade task retained the standard WM and inhibitory loads. Saccadic eye movements were also examined in a control condition: the standard prosaccade task where the load of WM and IC were minimal or absent. Saccade latencies, error rates and the spatial accuracy of saccades of older participants were compared to the same measures in healthy young controls across the conditions. The results revealed that aging is associated with changes in both IC and WM. Increasing the inhibitory load was associated with increased reaction times in the older group, while the increased WM load and the inhibitory load contributed to an increase in the antisaccade errors. These results reveal that aging is associated with changes in both IC and WM.
Alex de Carvalho; Isabelle Dautriche; Isabelle Lin; Anne Christophe
Phrasal prosody constrains syntactic analysis in toddlers Journal Article
In: Cognition, 163 , pp. 67–79, 2017.
This study examined whether phrasal prosody can impact toddlers' syntactic analysis. French noun-verb homophones were used to create locally ambiguous test sentences (e.g., using the homophone as a noun: [le bébé souris] [a bien mangé] - [the baby mouse] [ate well] or using it as a verb: [le bébé] [sourit à sa maman] - [the baby] [smiles to his mother], where brackets indicate prosodic phrase boundaries). Although both sentences start with the same words (le-bebe-/suʁi/), they can be disambiguated by the prosodic boundary that either directly precedes the critical word /suʁi/ when it is a verb, or directly follows it when it is a noun. Across two experiments using an intermodal preferential looking procedure, 28-month-olds (Exp. 1 and 2) and 20-month-olds (Exp. 2) listened to the beginnings of these test sentences while watching two images displayed side-by-side on a TV-screen: one associated with the noun interpretation of the ambiguous word (e.g., a mouse) and the other with the verb interpretation (e.g., a baby smiling). The results show that upon hearing the first words of these sentences, toddlers were able to correctly exploit prosodic information to access the syntactic structure of sentences, which in turn helped them to determine the syntactic category of the ambiguous word and to correctly identify its intended meaning: participants switched their eye-gaze toward the correct image based on the prosodic condition in which they heard the ambiguous target word. This provides evidence that during the first steps of language acquisition, toddlers are already able to exploit the prosodic structure of sentences to recover their syntactic structure and predict the syntactic category of upcoming words, an ability which would be extremely useful to discover the meaning of novel words.
Mengjiao Fan; Thomson W L Wong
In: Alzheimer's, Dementia & Cognitive Neurology, 1 (2), pp. 1–7, 2017.
Older adults are more likely to be required to face the problems of deteriorating movement control due to ageing and poor visuomotor adaptation is believed to be one of the important contributors to the problems. Therefore, we assessed motor performance together with gaze behaviors in young and older adults when they were performing computer-based reaching tasks aiming to examine the potential impact of ageing on visuomotor behaviors and adaptation. In this study, visuomotor behaviors in computer-based reaching tasks were quantitatively evaluated under providing online visual feedback or blocking online visual feedback (simulated visual deficiency) conditions. Results revealed that ageing affects motor performance of the reaching tasks significantly in both visual feedback conditions. Older adults performed distinctive gaze behaviors when compared with the young adults. It implies that simulated visual deficiency in the blocking online visual feedback condition may work as a stimulus to cause extra perceptive load during movement execution and, more importantly, ageing induces slower visuomotor adaptation. Therefore, visual deterioration may slow down the process of visuomotor adaptation. Consequently, the results of present study provide us with new insights in how to further improve the Geriatric rehabilitative training methods for older adults in the context of augmenting visuomotor behaviors, for example, by utilizing a welldesigned errorless training methodology to enhance movement automaticity and visuomotor adaption during motor rehabilitation in Geriatric population.
Jun Maruta; Lisa A Spielman; Umesh Rajashekar; Jamshid Ghajar
Visual tracking in development and aging Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Neurology, 8 , pp. 1–9, 2017.
A moving target is visually tracked with a combination of smooth pursuit and saccades. Human visual tracking eye movement develops through early childhood and adolescence, and declines in senescence. However, the knowledge regarding performance changes over the life course is based on data from distinct age groups in isolation using different procedures, and thus is fragmented. We sought to describe the age-dependence of visual tracking performance across a wide age range and compare it to that of simple visuo-manual reaction time. We studied a cross-sectional sample of 143 subjects aged 7-82 years old (37% male). Eye movements were recorded using video-oculography, while subjects viewed a computer screen and tracked a small target moving along a circular trajectory at a constant speed. For simple reaction time (SRT) measures, series of key presses that subjects made in reaction to cue presentation on a computer monitor were recorded using a standard software. The positional precision and smooth pursuit velocity gain of visual tracking followed a U-shaped trend over age, with best performances achieved between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. A U-shaped trend was also found for mean reaction time in agreement with the existing literature. Inter-individual variability was evident at any age in both visual tracking and reaction time metrics. Despite the similarity in the overall developmental and aging trend, correlations were not found between visual tracking and reaction time performances after subtracting the effects of age. Furthermore, while a statistically significant difference between the sexes was found for mean SRT in the sample, a similar difference was not found for any of the visual tracking metrics. Therefore, the cognitive constructs and their neural substrates supporting visual tracking and reaction time performances appear largely independent. In summary, age is an important covariate for visual tracking performance, especially for a pediatric population. Since visual tracking performance metrics may provide signatures of abnormal neurological or cognitive states independent of reaction time-based metrics, further understanding of age-dependent variations in normal visual tracking behavior is necessary.
Christina Marx; Stefan Hawelka; Sarah Schuster; Florian Hutzler
In: Scientific Reports, 7 , pp. 1–11, 2017.
Recent evidence suggested that parafoveal preprocessing develops early during reading acquisition, that is, young readers profit from valid parafoveal information and exhibit a resultant preview benefit. For young readers, however, it is unknown whether the processing demands of the currently fixated word modulate the extent to which the upcoming word is parafoveally preprocessed - as it has been postulated (for adult readers) by the foveal load hypothesis. The present study used the novel incremental boundary technique to assess whether 4 th and 6 th Graders exhibit an effect of foveal load. Furthermore, we attempted to distinguish the foveal load effect from the spillover effect. These effects are hard to differentiate with respect to the expected pattern of results, but are conceptually different. The foveal load effect is supposed to reflect modulations of the extent of parafoveal preprocessing, whereas the spillover effect reflects the ongoing processing of the previous word whilst the reader's fixation is already on the next word. The findings revealed that the young readers did not exhibit an effect of foveal load, but a substantial spillover effect. The implications for previous studies with adult readers and for models of eye movement control in reading are discussed.
Ronan McGarrigle; Piers Dawes; Andrew J Stewart; Stefanie E Kuchinsky; Kevin J Munro
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 161 , pp. 95–112, 2017.
Stress and fatigue from effortful listening may compromise well-being, learning, and academic achievement in school-aged children. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) typical of those in school classrooms on listening effort (behavioral and pupillometric) and listening-related fatigue (self-report and pupillometric) in a group of school-aged children. A sample of 41 normal-hearing children aged 8–11 years performed a narrative speech–picture verification task in a condition with recommended levels of background noise (“ideal”: +15 dB SNR) and a condition with typical classroom background noise levels (“typical”: −2 dB SNR). Participants showed increased task-evoked pupil dilation in the typical listening condition compared with the ideal listening condition, consistent with an increase in listening effort. No differences were found between listening conditions in terms of performance accuracy and response time on the behavioral task. Similarly, no differences were found between listening conditions in self-report and pupillometric markers of listening-related fatigue. This is the first study to (a) examine listening-related fatigue in children using pupillometry and (b) demonstrate physiological evidence consistent with increased listening effort while listening to spoken narratives despite ceiling-level task performance accuracy. Understanding the physiological mechanisms that underpin listening-related effort and fatigue could inform intervention strategies and ultimately mitigate listening difficulties in children.
Martina Micai; Holly S S L Joseph; Mila Vulchanova; David Saldaña
In: Autism Research, 10 (5), pp. 888–900, 2017.
Previous research suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulties with inference generation in reading tasks. However, most previous studies have examined how well children understand a text after reading or have measured on-line reading behavior without response to questions. The aim of this study was to investigate the online strategies of children and adolescents with autism during reading and at the same time responding to a question by monitoring their eye movements. The reading behavior of participants with ASD was compared with that of age-, language-, nonverbal intelligence-, reading-, and receptive language skills-matched participants without ASD (control group). The results showed that the ASD group were as accurate as the control group in generating inferences when answering questions about the short texts, and no differences were found between the two groups in the global paragraph reading and responding times. However, the ASD group displayed longer gaze latencies on a target word necessary to produce an inference. They also showed more regressions into the word that supported the inference compared to the control group after reading the question, irrespective of whether an inference was required or not. In conclusion, the ASD group achieved an equivalent level of inferential comprehension, but showed subtle differences in reading comprehension strategies compared to the control group.
Lisa M.Soederberg Miller; Elizabeth Applegate; Laurel A Beckett; MacHelle D Wilson; Tanja N Gibson
In: Public Health Nutrition, 20 (5), pp. 786–796, 2017.
Objective: The ability to use serving size information on food labels is important for managing age-related chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cancer. Past research suggests that older adults are at risk for failing to accurately use this portion of the food label due to numeracy skills. However, the extent to which older adults pay attention to serving size information on packages is unclear. We compared the effects of numeracy and attention on age differences in accurate use of serving size information while individuals evaluated product healthfulness. Design: Accuracy and attention were assessed across two tasks in which participants compared nutrition labels of two products to determine which was more healthful if they were to consume the entire package. Participants' eye movements were monitored as a measure of attention while they compared two products presented side-by-side on a computer screen. Numeracy as well as food label habits and nutrition knowledge were assessed using questionnaires. Setting: Sacramento area, California, USA, 2013–2014. Subjects: Stratified sample of 358 adults, aged 20–78 years. Results: Accuracy declined with age among those older adults who paid less attention to serving size information. Although numeracy, nutrition knowledge and self-reported food label use supported accuracy, these factors did not influence age differences in accuracy. Conclusions: The data suggest that older adults are less accurate than younger adults in their use of serving size information. Age differences appear to be more related to lack of attention to serving size information than to numeracy skills.
Vincenzo Moscati; Likan Zhan; Peng Zhou
Children's on-line processing of epistemic modals Journal Article
In: Journal of Child Language, 44 , pp. 1025–1040, 2017.
In this paper we investigated the real-time processing of epistemic modals in five-year-olds. In a simple reasoning scenario, we monitored children's eye-movements while processing a sentence with modal expressions of different force (might/must). Children were also asked to judge the truth-value of the target sentences at the end of the reasoning task. Consistent with previous findings (Noveck, 2001), we found that children's behavioural responses were much less accurate compared to adults. Their eye-movements, however, revealed that children did not treat the two modal expressions alike. As soon as a modal expression was presented, children and adults showed a similar fixation pattern that varied as a function of the modal expression they heard. It is only at the very end of the sentence that children's fixations diverged from the adult ones. We discuss these findings in relation to the proposal that children narrow down the set of possible outcomes in undetermined reasoning scenarios and endorse only one possibility among several (Acredolo & Horobin, 1987, Ozturk & Papafragou, 2015).
Angelina Paolozza; Sarah Treit; Christian Beaulieu; James N Reynolds
In: Human Brain Mapping, 38 (1), pp. 444–456, 2017.
Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can cause central nervous system dysfunction and widespread structural anomalies as detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This study focused on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of white matter in a large sample of PAE participants that allowed us to examine correlations with behavioral outcomes. Participants were confirmed PAE (n = 69, mean age = 12.5 ± 3.2 years) or typically developing control children (n = 67, mean age = 12.1 ± 3.2 years) who underwent brain MRI, eye movement tasks, and psychometric tests. A semi‐automated tractography method extracted fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values from 15 white matter tracts. The PAE group displayed decreased FA compared with controls in multiple tracts including 3 corpus callosum regions, right corticospinal tract, and 3 left hemisphere tracts connecting to the frontal lobe (cingulum, uncinate fasciculus, and superior longitudinal fasciculus). Significant group by sex interactions were found for the genu, left superior longitudinal fasciculus, and the left uncinate, with females in the PAE group exhibiting lower FA compared with control females. Correlations were found between DTI and eye movement measures in the control group, but these same relationships were absent in the PAE group. In contrast, no correlations were found between DTI and any of the psychometric tests used in this study. These findings support the hypothesis that measures of eye movement control may be valuable functional biomarkers of the brain injury induced by PAE as these tasks reveal group differences that appear to be linked to deficits in white matter integrity in the brain.
Maxine Perrin; Manon Robillard; Annie Roy-Charland
In: Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 33 (4), pp. 249–259, 2017.
This study examined eye movements during a visual search task as well as cognitive abilities within three age groups. The aim was to explore scanning patterns across symbol grids and to better understand the impact of symbol location in AAC displays on speed and accuracy of symbol selection. For the study, 60 students were asked to locate a series of symbols on 16 cell grids. The EyeLink 1000 was used to measure eye movements, accuracy, and response time. Accuracy was high across all cells. Participants had faster response times, longer fixations, and more frequent fixations on symbols located in the middle of the grid. Group comparisons revealed significant differences for accuracy and reaction times. The Leiter-R was used to evaluate cognitive abilities. Sustained attention and cognitive flexibility scores predicted the participants’ reaction time and accuracy in symbol selection. Findings suggest that symbol location within AAC devices and individuals’ cognitive abilities influence the speed and accuracy of retrieving symbols.
Aleks Pieczykolan; Lynn Huestegge
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 8 , pp. 1–10, 2017.
Normally, we do not act within a single effector system only, but rather coordinate actions across several output modules (cross-modal action). Such cross-modal action demands can vary substantially with respect to their complexity in terms of the number of task- relevant response combinations and to-be-retrieved stimulus–response (S–R) mapping rules. In the present study, we study the impact of these two types of cross-modal action complexity on dual-response costs (i.e., performance differences between single- and dual-action demands). In Experiment 1, we combined a manual and an oculomotor task, each involving four response alternatives. Crucially, one (unconstrained) condition involved all 16 possible combinations of response alternatives, whereas a constrained condition involved only a subset of possible response combinations. The results revealed that preparing for a larger number of response combinations yielded a significant, but moderate increase in dual-response costs. In Experiment 2, we utilized one common lateralized auditory (e.g., left) stimulus to trigger incompatible response compounds (e.g., left saccade and right key press or vice versa). While one condition only involved one set of task-relevant S–R rules, another condition involved two sets of task-relevant rules (coded by stimulus type: noise/tone), while the number of task-relevant response combinations was the same in both conditions. Here, an increase in the number of to-be-retrieved S–R rules was associated with a substantial increase in dual-response costs that were also modulated on a trial-by-trial basis when switching between rules. Taken together, the results shed further light on the dependency of cross-modal action control on both action- and rule-related memory retrieval processes.
M R Pizzamiglio; M De Luca; Antonella Di Vita; Liana Palermo; Antonio Tanzilli; Claudia Dacquino; Laura Piccardi
In: Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 27 (3), pp. 369–408, 2017.
Here we report the assessment and treatment of a 6-year-old boy (L.G.) who was referred to us for congenital prosopagnosia (CP). We investigated his performance using a test battery and eye movement recordings pre- and post-training. L.G. showed deficits in recognising relatives and learning new faces, and misrecognition of unfamiliar people. Eye movement recordings showed that L.G. focused on the lower part of stimuli in naming tasks based on familiar or unfamiliar incomplete or complete faces. The training focused on improving his ability to explore internal features of faces, to discriminate specific facial features of familiar and unfamiliar faces, and to provide his family with strategies to use in the future. At the end of the training programme L.G. no longer failed to recognise close and distant relatives and classmates and did not falsely recognise unknown people.
Hugh Rabagliati; Alexander Robertson
In: Journal of Memory and Language, 94 , pp. 15–27, 2017.
Children have considerable difficulty producing informative and unambiguous referring expressions, a fact that still lacks a full explanation. Potential insight can come from psycholinguistic models of ambiguity avoidance in adults, which suggest that, before describing any scene, speakers pro-actively monitor for some — but not all — types of potential ambiguity, and then subsequently monitor whether their just-produced expression provides an ambiguous description. Our experiments used eye tracking to assess the developing roles of these skills in children's referential communication. Experiment 1 shows that adults' eye movements can index the processes of both pro-active and self-monitoring. Experiments 2 and 3 show that children (n = 110) typically do not pro-actively monitor for potential ambiguity, although they do show evidence of pro-active monitoring on the occasions when they produce informative expressions. However, we do find evidence that children consistently monitor their own descriptions for ambiguity, even though they rarely correct their utterances. We propose that the process of self-monitoring might act as a learning signal, that guides children as they acquire the ability to monitor pro-actively.
Renante Rondina; Kaitlin Curtiss; Jed A Meltzer; Morgan D Barense; Jennifer D Ryan
The organisation of spatial and temporal relations in memory Journal Article
In: Memory, 25 (4), pp. 436–449, 2017.
Episodic memories are comprised of details of “where” and “when”; spatial and temporal relations, respectively. However, evidence from behavioural, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging studies has provided mixed interpretations about how memories for spatial and temporal relations are organised—they may be hierarchical, fully interactive, or independent. In the current study, we examined the interaction of memory for spatial and temporal relations. Using explicit reports and eye-tracking, we assessed younger and older adults' memory for spatial and temporal relations of objects that were presented singly across time in unique spatial locations. Explicit change detection of spatial relations was affected by a change in temporal relations, but explicit change detection of temporal relations was not affected by a change in spatial relations. Younger and older adults showed eye movement evidence of incidental memory for temporal relations, but only younger adults showed eye movement evidence of incidental memory for spatial relations. Together, these findings point towards a hierarchical organisation of relational memory. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of the neural mechanisms that may support such a hierarchical organisation of memory.
Eugenie Roudaia; Jocelyn Faubert
In: Journal of Vision, 17 (11), pp. 1–16, 2017.
The current study examined the role of temporal resolution of attention in the decline in multiple object tracking abilities with healthy aging. The temporal resolution of attention is known to limit attentional tracking of one and multiple targets (Holcombe & Chen, 2013). Here, we examined whether aging is associated with a lower temporal resolution of attention when tracking one target, the efficiency of splitting attention across multiple targets, or both. Stimuli comprised three concentric rings containing five or 10 equally spaced dots. While maintaining central fixation, younger and older participants tracked a target dot on one, two, or three rings while the rings rotated around fixation in random directions for 5 s. Rotational speed was varied to estimate speed or temporal frequency thresholds in six conditions. Results showed that younger and older participants had similar temporal frequency thresholds for tracking one target, but the addition of one and two more targets reduced thresholds more in the older group compared to the younger group. Gender also affected performance, with men having higher temporal frequency thresholds than women, independently of the number of targets. These findings indicate that the temporal resolution of attention for a single target depends on gender but is not affected by aging, whereas aging specifically affects the efficiency of dividing attention across multiple targets.
Aasef G Shaikh; Fatema F Ghasia
In: PLoS ONE, 12 (4), pp. e0175295, 2017.
Purpose: Fixational eye movements are of particular interest for three reasons. They are critical for preventing visual fading and enhancing visual perception; their disconjugacy allows scanning in three dimensions, and their neural correlates span through the cortico-striatal, striato-collicular and brainstem networks. Fixational eye movements are altered in various pediatric ophthalmologic and neurologic disorders. The goal of this study was to compare the dynamics of fixational eye movements in normal children and adults. Methods: We measured the fixational saccades and inter-saccadic drifts in eye positions using infrared video-oculography in children and adults. We assessed the frequency, amplitude, main-sequence, and disconjugacy of fixational saccades as well as the intra-saccadic drift velocity and variance between these two groups. Results: We found a similar frequency but an increase in the amplitude of fixational saccades in children compared to adults. We also found that the fixational saccades were more conjugate in children than in adults. The inter-saccadic drifts were comparable between the two groups. Discussion: This study provides normative values of dynamics of fixational eye movement in children and adults. The greater disconjugacy of fixational saccades in adults suggests the existence of neural mechanisms that can independently regulate the movements of two eyes. The differences between adult and pediatric populations could be due to completion of the development of binocularly independent regulation of fixational saccades nearing adulthood. The alternate possibility is that the increased disconjugacy between the two eyes may represent a deficiency in the eye movement performance as a function of increasing age.
Erin M Shellington; Matthew Heath; Dawn P Gill; Robert J Petrella
In: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 58 (1), pp. 17–22, 2017.
Adults (≥55 years) with self-reported cognitive complaints (sCC) were randomized to: multiple-modality exercise (M2), or multiple-modality plus mind-motor exercise (M4), for 24-weeks. Participants (n = 58) were assessed on antisaccade reaction time (RT) to examine executive-related oculomotor control and self-reported physical activity (PA) at pre-intervention (V0), post-intervention (V1), and 52-weeks follow-up (V2). We previously reported significant improvements in antisaccade RT of 23 ms at V1, in both groups. We now report maintenance of antisaccade RT improvement from V1 to V2, t(57) = 0.8
Anantha Singarajah; Jill Chanley; Yoselin Gutierrez; Yoselin Cordon; Bryan Nguyen; Lauren Burakowski; Scott P Johnson
Infant attention to same- and other-race faces Journal Article
In: Cognition, 159 , pp. 76–84, 2017.
We recorded visual attention to same- and other-race faces in Hispanic and White 11-month-old infants, an age at which face processing is presumably biased by an own-race recognition advantage. Infants viewed pairs of faces differing in race or ethnicity as their eye movements were recorded. We discovered consistently greater attention to Black over Hispanic faces, to Black faces over White faces, and to Hispanic over White faces. Inversion of face stimuli, and infant ethnicity, had little effect on performance. Infants' social environments, however, differed sharply according to ethnicity: Hispanic infants are almost exclusively exposed to Hispanic family members, and White infants to White family members. Moreover, Hispanic infants inhabit communities that are more racially and ethnically diverse. These results imply that race-based visual attention in infancy is closely aligned with the larger society's racial and ethnic composition, as opposed to race-based recognition, which is more closely aligned with infants' immediate social environments.
Allison A Steen-Baker; Shukhan Ng; Brennan R Payne; Carolyn J Anderson; Kara D Federmeier; Elizabeth A L Stine-Morrow
In: Psychology and Aging, 32 (5), pp. 460–472, 2017.
The facilitation of word processing by sentence context reflects the interaction between the build-up of message-level semantics and lexical processing. Yet, little is known about how this effect varies through adulthood as a function of reading skill. In this study, Participants 18-64 years old with a range of literacy competence read simple sentences as their eye movements were monitored. We manipulated the predictability of a sentence-final target word, operationalized as cloze probability. First fixation durations showed an interaction between age and literacy skill, decreasing with age among more skilled readers but increasing among less skilled readers. This pattern suggests that age-related slowing may impact reading when not buffered by skill, but with continued practice, automatization of reading can continue to develop in adulthood. In absolute terms, readers were sensitive to predictability, regardless of age or literacy, in both early and later measures. Older readers showed differential contextual sensitivity in regression patterns, effects not moderated by literacy skill. Finally, comprehension performance increased with age and literacy skill, but performance among less skilled readers was especially reduced when predictability was low, suggesting that low-literacy adults (regardless of age) struggle when creating mental representations under weaker semantic constraints. Collectively, these findings suggest that aging readers (regardless of reading skill) are more sensitive to context for meaning-integration processes; that less skilled adult readers (regardless of age) depend more on a constrained semantic representation for comprehension; and that the capacity for literacy engagement enables continued development of efficient lexical processing in adult reading development.