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Aaron Veldre; Roslyn Wong; Sally Andrews
Reading proficiency predicts the extent of the right, but not left, perceptual span in older readers Journal Article
In: Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 18–26, 2021.
The gaze-contingent moving-window paradigm was used to assess the size and symmetry of the perceptual span in older readers. The eye movements of 49 cognitively intact older adults (60–88 years of age) were recorded as they read sentences varying in difficulty, and the availability of letter information to the right and left of fixation was manipulated. To reconcile discrepancies in previous estimates of the perceptual span in older readers, individual differences in written language proficiency were assessed with tests of vocabulary, reading comprehension, reading speed, spelling ability, and print exposure. The results revealed that higher proficiency older adults extracted information up to 15 letter spaces to the right of fixation, while lower proficiency readers showed no additional benefit beyond 9 letters to the right. However, all readers showed improvements to reading with the availability of up to 9 letters to the left—confirming previous evidence of reduced perceptual span asymmetry in older readers. The findings raise questions about whether the source of age-related changes in parafoveal processing lies in the adoption of a risky reading strategy involving an increased propensity to both guess upcoming words and make corrective regressions.
Andrew J. Sanders; Scott P. Johnson
Indexing early visual memory durability in infancy Journal Article
In: Child Development, vol. 92, no. 2, pp. e221–e235, 2021.
The goal was to examine the scope and development of early visual memory durability. We investigated individual- and age-related differences across three unique tasks in 6- to 12-month-olds (Mage = 8.87
Raheleh Saryazdi; Craig G Chambers
Real-time communicative perspective taking in younger and older adults Journal Article
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 439–454, 2021.
One core question in studies of language processing is the extent to which interlocutors engage in real-time communicative perspective-taking. Current evidence suggests that both children and young adult listeners are able to draw on common ground (shared knowledge) to guide referential interpretation. However, less is known about older listeners, who are often described as experiencing age-related cognitive declines that could affect their capacity to integrate perspective cues online. In the present study, we examined the extent to which younger and older listeners used common ground to guide the interpretation of temporarily ambiguous descriptions. Participants followed instructions from a Director to click on displayed objects. The target object (e.g., hat with blue feathers) was accompanied by a competitor (e.g., hat with pink feathers) or a control object (e.g., stapler). We manipulated whether the competitor/control was mutually visible (common ground) or not (privileged ground). The results revealed that, although listeners used perspective information to differentiate the target from the competitor in the common ground condition, this pattern was notably weaker in older adults. Whereas measures of executive function showed significant group differences in inhibitory control and working memory, no differences were found in theory of mind. Thus, age-related changes in communicative perspective-taking are not likely due to general declines in mentalizing ability. Furthermore, strict screening criteria for vision and hearing ability allowed us to rule out explanations involving age-related sensory decline. Together, the results advance our understanding of how younger and older adults integrate common ground during real-time referential processing.
Raheleh Saryazdi; Daniel DeSantis; Elizabeth K. Johnson; Craig G. Chambers
The use of disfluency cues in spoken language processing: Insights from aging Journal Article
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 36, no. 8, pp. 928–942, 2021.
Past research suggests listeners treat disfluencies as informative cues during spoken language processing. For example, studies have shown that child and younger adult listeners use filled pauses to rapidly anticipate discourse-new objects. The present study explores whether older adults show a similar pattern, or if this ability is reduced in light of age-related declines in language and cognitive abilities. The study also examines whether the processing of disfluencies differs depending on the talker's age. Stereotyped ideas about older adults' speech could lead listeners to treat disfluencies as uninformative, similar to the way in which listeners react to disfluencies produced by non-native speakers or individuals with a cognitive disorder. Experiment 1 tracking to capture younger and older listeners' real-time reactions to filled pauses produced by younger and older talkers. On critical trials, participants followed fluent or disfluent instructions referring to by both younger and older talkers as cues for reference to discourse-new objects despite holding stereotypes regarding older adults' speech. Experiment 2 further explored listeners' biased judgments of talkers' fluency, using auditory materials from Experiment 1. Speech produced by an older talker was rated as more slower than a younger talker even though these features were matched across recordings. Together, the findings demonstrate (a) older listeners' effective use of disfluency cues in real-time listeners treat both older and younger talkers' disfluencies as informative despite regarding older talkers' speech.
Matteo Scaramuzzi; Jordan Murray; Paolo Nucci; Aasef G. Shaikh; Fatema F. Ghasia
Fixational eye movements abnormalities and rate of visual acuity and stereoacuity improvement with part time patching Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 11, pp. 1217, 2021.
Residual amblyopia is seen in 40% of amblyopic patients treated with part-time patching. Amblyopic patients with infantile onset strabismus or anisometropia can develop fusion maldevelopment nystagmus syndrome (FMNS). The purpose of this study was to understand the effects of presence of FMNS and clinical subtype of amblyopia on visual acuity and stereo-acuity improvement in children treated with part-time patching. Forty amblyopic children who had fixation eye movement recordings and at least 12 months of follow-up after initiating part-time patching were included. We classified amblyopic subjects per the fixational eye movements characteristics into those without any nystagmus, those with FMNS and patients with nystagmus without any structural anomalies that do not meet the criteria of FMNS or idiopathic infantile nystagmus. We also classified the patients per the clinical type of amblyopia. Patching was continued until amblyopia was resolved or no visual acuity improvement was noted at two consecutive visits. Children with anisometropic amblyopia and without FMNS have a faster improvement and plateaued sooner. Regression was only seen in patients with strabismic/mixed amblyopia particularly those with FMNS. Patients with FMNS had improvement in visual acuity but poor stereopsis with part-time patching and required longer duration of treatment.
Nichole E. Scheerer; Elina Birmingham; Troy Q. Boucher; Grace Iarocci
Attention capture by trains and faces in children with and without autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. e0250763, 2021.
This study examined involuntary capture of attention, overt attention, and stimulus valence and arousal ratings, all factors that can contribute to potential attentional biases to face and train objects in children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the visual domain, faces are particularly captivating, and are thought to have a ‘special status' in the attentional system. Research suggests that similar attentional biases may exist for other objects of expertise (e.g. birds for bird experts), providing support for the role of exposure in attention prioritization. Autistic individuals often have circumscribed interests around certain classes of objects, such as trains, that are related to vehicles and mechanical systems. This research aimed to determine whether this propensity in autistic individuals leads to stronger attention capture by trains, and perhaps weaker attention capture by faces, than what would be expected in non-autistic children. In Experiment 1, autistic children (6–14 years old) and age- and IQ-matched non-autistic children performed a visual search task where they manually indicated whether a target butterfly appeared amongst an array of face, train, and neutral distractors while their eye-movements were tracked. Autistic children were no less susceptible to attention capture by faces than non-autistic children. Overall, for both groups, trains captured attention more strongly than face stimuli and, trains had a larger effect on overt attention to the target stimuli, relative to face distractors. In Experiment 2, a new group of children (autistic and non-autistic) rated train stimuli as more interesting and exciting than the face stimuli, with no differences between groups. These results suggest that: (1) other objects (trains) can capture attention in a similar manner as faces, in both autistic and non-autistic children (2) attention capture is driven partly by voluntary attentional processes related to personal interest or affective responses to the stimuli.
Shira C. Segal; Alexandra R. Marquis; Margaret C. Moulson
Are our samples representative? Understanding whether temperament influences infant dropout rates at 3 and 7 months Journal Article
In: Infant Behavior and Development, vol. 65, pp. 101630, 2021.
In this study, we examined whether infant temperament predicted study dropout at 3.5 and 7 months and whether dropout was stable across time. Dropout was measured across four experimental tasks (free-play, ERP, still-face, and eye tracking). Temperament was not related to dropout at either timepoint. Dropout was not stable across time, nor was it stable across tasks. These findings suggest that individual differences in temperament are not systematically related to study completion across experimental tasks with varied requirements. These findings additionally suggest that dropout is not consistent across tasks, which may support the utility of multi-study data collection methods.
Vladislava Segen; Marios N. Avraamides; Timothy J. Slattery; Jan M. Wiener
Age-related differences in visual encoding and response strategies contribute to spatial memory deficits Journal Article
In: Memory and Cognition, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 249–264, 2021.
Successful navigation requires memorising and recognising the locations of objects across different perspectives. Although these abilities rely on hippocampal functioning, which is susceptible to degeneration in older adults, little is known about the effects of ageing on encoding and response strategies that are used to recognise spatial configurations. To investigate this, we asked young and older participants to encode the locations of objects in a virtual room shown as a picture on a computer screen. Participants were then shown a second picture of the same room taken from the same (0°) or a different perspective (45° or 135°) and had to judge whether the objects occupied the same or different locations. Overall, older adults had greater difficulty with the task than younger adults although the introduction of a perspective shift between encoding and testing impaired performance in both age groups. Diffusion modelling revealed that older adults adopted a more conservative response strategy, while the analysis of gaze patterns showed an age-related shift in visual-encoding strategies with older adults attending to more information when memorising the positions of objects in space. Overall, results suggest that ageing is associated with declines in spatial processing abilities, with older individuals shifting towards a more conservative decision style and relying more on encoding target object positions using room-based cues compared to younger adults, who focus more on encoding the spatial relationships among object clusters.
A. Sfärlea; K. Takano; C. Buhl; J. Loechner; E. Greimel; E. Salemink; G. Schulte-Körne; B. Platt
Emotion regulation as a mediator in the relationship between cognitive biases and depressive symptoms in depressed, at-risk and healthy children and adolescents Journal Article
In: Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, vol. 49, no. 10, pp. 1345–1358, 2021.
Contemporary cognitive models of depression propose that cognitive biases for negative information at the level of attention (attention biases; AB) and interpretation (interpretation biases; IB) increase depression risk by promoting maladaptive emotion regulation (ER). So far, empirical support testing interactions between these variables is restricted to non-clinical and clinical adult samples. The aim of the current study was to extend these findings to a sample of children and adolescents. This cross-sectional study included 109 children aged 9–14 years who completed behavioural measures of AB (passive-viewing task) and IB (scrambled sentences task) as well as self-report measures of ER and depressive symptoms. In order to maximize the variance in these outcomes we included participants with a clinical diagnosis of depression as well as non-depressed youth with an elevated familial risk of depression and non-depressed youth with a low familial risk of depression. Path model analysis indicated that all variables (AB, IB, adaptive and maladaptive ER) had a direct effect on depressive symptoms. IB and AB also had significant indirect effects on depressive symptoms via maladaptive and adaptive ER. These findings provide initial support for the role of ER as a mediator between cognitive biases and depressive symptoms and provide the foundations for future experimental and longitudinal studies. In contrast to studies in adult samples, both adaptive as well as maladaptive ER mediated the effect of cognitive biases on depressive symptoms. This suggests potentially developmental differences in the role of ER across the lifespan.
Maverick E. Smith; Lester C. Loschky; Heather R. Bailey
Knowledge guides attention to goal-relevant information in older adults Journal Article
In: Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 56, 2021.
How does viewers' knowledge guide their attention while they watch everyday events, how does it affect their memory, and does it change with age? Older adults have diminished episodic memory for everyday events, but intact semantic knowledge. Indeed, research suggests that older adults may rely on their semantic memory to offset impairments in episodic memory, and when relevant knowledge is lacking, older adults' memory can suffer. Yet, the mechanism by which prior knowledge guides attentional selection when watching dynamic activity is unclear. To address this, we studied the influence of knowledge on attention and memory for everyday events in young and older adults by tracking their eyes while they watched videos. The videos depicted activities that older adults perform more frequently than young adults (balancing a checkbook, planting flowers) or activities that young adults perform more frequently than older adults (installing a printer, setting up a video game). Participants completed free recall, recognition, and order memory tests after each video. We found age-related memory deficits when older adults had little knowledge of the activities, but memory did not differ between age groups when older adults had relevant knowledge and experience with the activities. Critically, results showed that knowledge influenced where viewers fixated when watching the videos. Older adults fixated less goal-relevant information compared to young adults when watching young adult activities, but they fixated goal-relevant information similarly to young adults, when watching more older adult activities. Finally, results showed that fixating goal-relevant information predicted free recall of the everyday activities for both age groups. Thus, older adults may use relevant knowledge to more effectively infer the goals of actors, which guides their attention to goal-relevant actions, thus improving their episodic memory for everyday activities.
Ziming Song; Xiaowei Liang; Yongsheng Wang; Guoli Yan
Effect of alternating-color words on oral reading in grades 2–5 Chinese children: Evidence from eye movements Journal Article
In: Reading and Writing, vol. 34, no. 10, pp. 2627–2643, 2021.
There is no obvious boundary information in Chinese reading. It has been shown that the introduction of word boundary information presented with alternating colors without changing the text distribution could significantly improve the reading speed of Chinese children in grade 2 (Perea and Wang in Mem Cognit 45(7):1160−1170, 2017. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-017-0717-0). However, few studies have examined how the effect of word boundary information on children's oral reading develops and changes as children's grade increases. The present study asked Chinese children in grades 2–5 to read alternating-color and mono-color text orally and used eye-tracking technology to explore the developmental trajectory of the influence of word boundary information on oral reading. The results indicated that children in grade 2 and grade 3 showed faster reading speeds in the alternating-color condition than in the mono-color condition. In contrast, there was no difference between the two conditions in children in grade 4 and grade 5. We discuss the mechanisms of the findings and the implications for education.
Thomas St. Pierre; Elizabeth K. Johnson
Looking for wugs in all the right places: Children's use of prepositions in word learning Journal Article
In: Cognitive Science, vol. 45, no. 8, pp. e13028, 2021.
To help infer the meanings of novel words, children frequently capitalize on their current linguistic knowledge to constrain the hypothesis space. Children's syntactic knowledge of function words has been shown to be especially useful in helping to infer the meanings of novel words, with most previous research focusing on how children use preceding determiners and pronouns/auxiliary to infer whether a novel word refers to an entity or an action, respectively. In the current visual world experiment, we examined whether 28- to 32-month-olds could exploit their lexical semantic knowledge of an additional class of function words—prepositions—to learn novel nouns. During the experiment, children were tested on their ability to use the prepositions in, on, under, and next to to identify novel creatures displayed on a screen (e.g., The wug is on the table), as well as their ability to later identify the creature without accompanying prepositions (e.g., Look at the wug). Children overall demonstrated understanding of all the prepositions but next to and were able to use their knowledge of prepositions to learn the associations between novel words and their intended referents, as shown by greater-than chance looks to the target referent when no prepositional phrase was provided.
Jemaine E. Stacey; Mark Crook-Rumsey; Alexander Sumich; Christina J. Howard; Trevor Crawford; Kinneret Livne; Sabrina Lenzoni; Stephen Badham
Age differences in resting state EEG and their relation to eye movements and cognitive performance Journal Article
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 157, pp. 107887, 2021.
Prior research has focused on EEG differences across age or EEG differences across cognitive tasks/eye tracking. There are few studies linking age differences in EEG to age differences in behavioural performance which is necessary to establish how neuroactivity corresponds to successful and impaired ageing. Eighty-six healthy participants completed a battery of cognitive tests and eye-tracking measures. Resting state EEG (n = 75, 31 young, 44 older adults) was measured for delta, theta, alpha and beta power as well as for alpha peak frequency. Age deficits in cognition were aligned with the literature, showing working memory and inhibitory deficits along with an older adult advantage in vocabulary. Older adults showed poorer eye movement accuracy and response times, but we did not replicate literature showing a greater age deficit for antisaccades than for prosaccades. We replicated EEG literature showing lower alpha peak frequency in older adults but not literature showing lower alpha power. Older adults also showed higher beta power and less parietal alpha power asymmetry than young adults. Interaction effects showed that better prosaccade performance was related to lower beta power in young adults but not in older adults. Performance at the trail making test part B (measuring task switching and inhibition) was improved for older adults with higher resting state delta power but did not depend on delta power for young adults. It is argued that individuals with higher slow-wave resting EEG may be more resilient to age deficits in tasks that utilise cross-cortical processing.
Margot D. Sullivan; Ringo Huang; Joseph Rovetti; Erika P. Sparrow; Julia Spaniol
Associations between phasic arousal and decisions under risk in younger and older adults Journal Article
In: Neurobiology of Aging, vol. 105, pp. 262–271, 2021.
Higher arousal is linked to simple decision strategies and an increased preference for immediate rewards in younger adults, but little is known about the influence of arousal on decision making in older adults. In light of age-related locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system declines, we predicted a reduced association between arousal and decision behavior in older adults. Younger and older participants made a series of choices between smaller, higher-probability and larger, lower-probability financial gains. Each choice was preceded by the presentation of a high-arousal or low-arousal sound. Pupil dilation was continuously recorded as an index of task-evoked arousal. Both age groups showed significant modulation of pupil dilation as a function of arousal condition. Higher-arousal sounds were associated with shorter response times, particularly in younger adults. Furthermore, higher-arousal sounds were associated with greater risk aversion in younger adults and greater risk seeking in older adults, in line with an arousal-related amplification of baseline preferences in both age groups. Jointly, these findings help inform current theories of the effects of arousal on information processing in younger and older adults.
Emma Sumner; Samuel B. Hutton; Elisabeth L. Hill
Subtle oculomotor difficulties and their relation to motor skill in children with autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 144–155, 2021.
Objectives: Sensorimotor difficulties are often reported in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Visual and motor skills are linked in that the processing ofvisual information can help in guiding motor movements. The present study investigated oculomotor skill and its relation to general motor skill in ASD by providing a comprehensive assessment of oculomotor control. Methods: Fifty children (25 ASD; 25 typically developing [TD]), aged 7–10 years, completed a motor assessment (comprising fine and gross motor tasks) and oculomotor battery (comprising fixation, smooth pursuit, prosaccade and antisaccade tasks). Results: No group differences were found for antisaccade errors, nor saccade latencies in prosaccade and antisaccade tasks, but increased saccade amplitude variability was observed in children with ASD, suggesting a reduced consistency in saccade accuracy. Children with ASD also demonstrated poorer fixation stability than their peers and spent less time in pursuit of a moving target. Motor skill was not correlated with saccade amplitude variability. However, regression analyses revealed that motor skill (and not diagnosis) accounted for variance in fixation performance and fast smooth pursuit. Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of considering oculomotor paradigms to inform the functional impact of neuropathologies in ASD and also assessing the presentation of co-occurring difficulties to further our understanding ofASD. Avenues for future research are suggested.
Vijay K. Tailor; Maria Theodorou; Annegret H. Dahlmann-Noor; Tessa M. Dekker; John A. Greenwood
Eye movements elevate crowding in idiopathic infantile nystagmus syndrome Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 21, no. 13, pp. 1–23, 2021.
Idiopathic infantile nystagmus syndrome is a disorder characterised by involuntary eye movements, which leads to decreased acuity and visual function. One such function is visual crowding – a process whereby objects that are easily recognised in isolation become impaired by nearby flankers. Crowding typically occurs in the peripheral visual field, although elevations in foveal vision have been reported in congenital nystagmus, similar to those found with amblyopia. Here, we examine whether elevated foveal crowding with nystagmus is driven by similar mechanisms to those of amblyopia – long-term neural changes associated with a sensory deficit – or by the momentary displacement of the stimulus through nystagmus eye movements. A Landolt-C orientation identification task was used to measure threshold gap sizes with and without either horizontally or vertically placed Landolt-C flankers. We assume that a sensory deficit should give equivalent crowding in these two dimensions, whereas an origin in eye movements should give stronger crowding with horizontal flankers given the predominantly horizontal eye movements of nystagmus. We observe elevations in nystagmic crowding that are above crowding in typical vision but below that of amblyopia. Consistent with an origin in eye movements, elevations were stronger with horizontal than vertical flankers in nystagmus, but not in typical or amblyopic vision. We further demonstrate the same horizontal elongation in typical vision with stimulus movement that simulates nystagmus. Consequently, we propose that the origin of nystagmic crowding lies in the eye movements, either through image smear of the target and flanker elements or through relocation of the stimulus into the peripheral retina.
Junichi Takahashi; Kenichiro Miura; Kentaro Morita; Michiko Fujimoto; Seiko Miyata; Kosuke Okazaki; Junya Matsumoto; Naomi Hasegawa; Yoji Hirano; Hidenaga Yamamori; Yuka Yasuda; Manabu Makinodan; Kiyoto Kasai; Norio Ozaki; Toshiaki Onitsuka; Ryota Hashimoto
Effects of age and sex on eye movement characteristics Journal Article
In: Neuropsychopharmacology Reports, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 152–158, 2021.
Abnormal eye movements are often associated with psychiatric disorders. Eye movements are sensorimotor functions of the brain, and aging and sex would affect their characteristics. A precise understanding of normal eye movements is required to distinguish disease-related abnormalities from natural differences associated with aging or sex. To date, there is no multicohort study examining age-related dependency and sex effects of eye movements in healthy, normal individuals using large samples to ensure the robustness and reproducibility of the results. In this study, we aimed to provide findings showing the impact of age and sex on eye movement measures. The present study used eye movement measures of more than seven hundred healthy individuals from three large independent cohorts. We herein evaluated eye movement measures quantified by using a set of standard eye movement tests that have been utilized for the examination of patients with schizophrenia. We assessed the statistical significance of the effects of age and sex and its reproducibility across cohorts. We found that 4-18 out of 35 eye movement measures were significantly correlated with age, depending on the cohort, and that 10 of those, which are related to the fixation and motor control of smooth pursuit and saccades, showed high reproducibility. On the other hand, the effects of sex, if any, were less reproducible. The present results suggest that we should take age into account when we evaluate abnormalities in eye movements.
Maria Theobald; Garvin Brod
Tackling scientific misconceptions: The element of surprise Journal Article
In: Child Development, vol. 92, no. 5, pp. 2128–2141, 2021.
Misconceptions about scientific concepts often prevail even if learners are confronted with conflicting evidence. This study tested the facilitative role of surprise in children's revision of misconceptions regarding water displacement in a sample of German children (N = 94, aged 6–9 years, 46% female). Surprise was measured via the pupil dilation response. It was induced by letting children generate predictions before presenting them with outcomes that conflicted with their misconception. Compared to a control condition, generating predictions boosted children's surprise and led to a greater revision of misconceptions (d = 0.56). Surprise further predicted successful belief revision during the learning phase. These results suggest that surprise increases the salience of a cognitive conflict, thereby facilitating the revision of misconceptions.
Debra Titone; Julie Mercier; Aruna Sudarshan; Irina Pivneva; Jason Gullifer; Shari Baum
Spoken word processing in bilingual older adults Journal Article
In: Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 578–610, 2021.
We investigated whether bilingual older adults experience within- and cross-language competition during spoken word recognition similarly to younger adults matched on age of second language (L2) acquisition, objective and subjective L2 proficiency, and current L2 exposure. In a visual world eye-tracking paradigm, older and younger adults, who were French-dominant or English-dominant English-French bilinguals, listened to English words, and looked at pictures including the target (field), a within-language competitor (feet) or cross-language (French) competitor (fille, “girl”), and unrelated filler pictures while their eye movements were monitored. Older adults showed evidence of greater within-language competition as a function of increased target and competitor phonological overlap. There was some evidence of age-related differences in cross-language competition, however, it was quite small overall and varied as a function of target language proficiency. These results suggest that greater within- and possibly cross-language lexical competition during spoken word recognition may underlie some of the communication difficulties encountered by healthy bilingual older adults.
Kathryn A. Tremblay; Katherine S. Binder; Scott P. Ardoin; Amani Talwar; Elizabeth L. Tighe
Third graders' strategy use and accuracy on an expository text: an exploratory study using eye movements Journal Article
In: Journal of Research in Reading, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 737–756, 2021.
Background: Of the myriad of reading comprehension (RC) assessments used in schools, multiple-choice (MC) questions continue to be one of the most prevalent formats used by educators and researchers. Outcomes from RC assessments dictate many critical factors encountered during a student's academic career, and it is crucial that we gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of these assessments and the types of skills needed for their successful completion. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine how different component skills (i.e., decoding, word recognition, reading fluency, RC and working memory) were related to students' response accuracy as they read a text and responded to MC questions. Methods: We monitored the eye movements of 73 third graders as they read an expository text and answered MC questions. We investigated whether the component skills differentially predicted accuracy across different question types and difficulty levels. Results: Results indicated that readers who answered MC questions correctly were able to identify when they needed to reread the text to find the answer and were better able to find the relevant area in the text compared with incorrect responders. Incorrect responders were less likely to reread the text to find the answer and generally had poorer precision when attempting to locate the answer in the text. Finally, the component skills relied upon by readers to answer RC questions were related to the type and difficulty of the questions. Conclusions: Results of the present study suggest that comprehension difficulties can arise from a myriad of sources and that reading abilities together with test-taking strategies impact RC test outcomes.
Sho Tsuji; Anne-Caroline Fiévét; Alejandrina Cristia
Toddler word learning from contingent screens with and without human presence Journal Article
In: Infant Behavior and Development, vol. 63, pp. 1–12, 2021.
While previous studies have documented that toddlers learn less well from passive screens than from live interaction, the rise of interactive, digital screen media opens new perspectives, since some work has shown that toddlers can learn similarly well from a human present via video chat as from live exposure. The present study aimed to disentangle the role of human presence from other aspects of social interactions on learning advantages in contingent screen settings. We assessed 16-month-old toddlers' fast mapping of novel words from screen in three conditions: in-person, video chat, and virtual agent. All conditions built on the same controlled and scripted interaction. In the in-person condition, toddlers learned two novel word-object associations from an experimenter present in the same room and reacting contingently to infants' gaze direction. In the video chat condition, the toddler saw the experimenter in real time on screen, while the experimenter only had access to the toddler's real-time gaze position as captured by an eyetracker. This setup allowed contingent reactivity to the toddler's gaze while controlling for any cues beyond these instructions. The virtual agent condition was programmed to follow the infant's gaze, to smile, and to name the object with the same parameters as the experimenter in the other conditions. After the learning phase, all toddlers were tested on their word recognition in a looking-while-listening paradigm. Comparisons against chance revealed that toddlers showed above-chance word learning in the in-person group only. Toddlers in the virtual agent group showed significantly worse performance than those in the in-person group, while performance in the video chat group overlapped with the other two groups. These results confirm that in-person interaction leads to best learning outcomes even in the absence of rich social cues. They also elucidate that contingency is not sufficient either, and that in order for toddlers to learn from interactive digital media, more cues to social agency are required.
Veronica Whitford; Marc F. Joanisse
Eye movement measures of within-language and cross-language activation during reading in monolingual and bilingual children and adults: A focus on neighborhood density effects Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 674007, 2021.
We used eye movement measures of first-language (L1) and second-language (L2) paragraph reading to investigate how the activation of multiple lexical candidates, both within and across languages, influences visual word recognition in four different age and language groups: (1) monolingual children; (2) monolingual young adults; (3) bilingual children; and (4) bilingual young adults. More specifically, we focused on within-language and cross-language orthographic neighborhood density effects, while controlling for the potentially confounding effects of orthographic neighborhood frequency. We found facilitatory within-language orthographic neighborhood density effects (i.e., words were easier to process when they had many vs. few orthographic neighbors, evidenced by shorter fixation durations) across the L1 and L2, with larger effects in children vs. adults (especially the bilingual ones) during L1 reading. Similarly, we found facilitatory cross-language neighborhood density effects across the L1 and L2, with no modulatory influence of age or language group. Taken together, our findings suggest that word recognition benefits from the simultaneous activation of visually similar word forms during naturalistic reading, with some evidence of larger effects in children and particularly those whose words may have differentially lower baseline activation levels and/or weaker links between word-related information due to divided language exposure: bilinguals.
Lena Wimmer; Gregory Currie; Stacie Friend; Heather Jane Ferguson
Testing correlates of lifetime exposure to print fiction following a multi-method approach: Evidence from young and older readers Journal Article
In: Imagination, Cognition and Personality, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 54–86, 2021.
Two pre-registered studies investigated associations of lifetime exposure to fiction, applying a battery of self-report, explicit and implicit indicators. Study 1 ( N = 150 university students) tested the relationships between exposure to fiction and social and moral cognitive abilities in a lab setting, using a correlational design. Results failed to reveal evidence for enhanced social or moral cognition with increasing lifetime exposure to narrative fiction. Study 2 followed a cross-sectional design and compared 50–80 year-old fiction experts ( N = 66), non-fiction experts ( N = 53), and infrequent readers ( N = 77) regarding social cognition, general knowledge, imaginability, and creativity in an online setting. Fiction experts outperformed the remaining groups regarding creativity, but not regarding social cognition or imaginability. In addition, both fiction and non-fiction experts demonstrated higher general knowledge than infrequent readers. Taken together, the present results do not support theories postulating benefits of narrative fiction for social cognition, but suggest that reading fiction may be associated with a specific gain in creativity, and that print (fiction or non-fiction) exposure has a general enhancement effect on world knowledge.
Chao-Jung Wu; Chia-Yu Liu; Chung-Hsuan Yang; Yu-Cin Jian
Eye-movements reveal children's deliberative thinking and predict performance on arithmetic word problems Journal Article
In: European Journal of Psychology of Education, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 91–108, 2021.
Despite decades of research on the close link between eye movements and human cognitive processes, the exact nature of the link between eye movements and deliberative thinking in problem-solving remains unknown. Thus, this study explored the critical eye-movement indicators of deliberative thinking and investigated whether visual behaviors could predict performance on arithmetic word problems of various difficulties. An eye tracker and test were employed to collect 69 sixth-graders' eye-movement behaviors and responses. No significant difference was found between the successful and unsuccessful groups on the simple problems, but on the difficult problems, the successful problem-solvers demonstrated significantly greater gaze aversion, longer fixations, and spontaneous reflections. Notably, the model incorporating RT-TFD, NOF of 500 ms, and pupil size indicators could best predict participants' performance, with an overall hit rate of 74%, rising to 80% when reading comprehension screening test scores were included. These results reveal the solvers' engagement strategies or show that successful problem-solvers were well aware of problem difficulty and could regulate their cognitive resources efficiently. This study sheds light on the development of an adapted learning system with embedded eye tracking to further predict students' visual behaviors, provide real-time feedback, and improve their problem-solving performance.
Jordana S. Wynn; Bradley R. Buchsbaum; Jennifer D. Ryan
Encoding and retrieval eye movements mediate age differences in pattern completion Journal Article
In: Cognition, pp. 1–13, 2021.
Older adults often mistake new information as ‘old', yet the mechanisms underlying this response bias remain unclear. Typically, false alarms by older adults are thought to reflect pattern completion – the retrieval of a previously encoded stimulus in response to partial input. However, other work suggests that age-related retrieval errors can be accounted for by deficient encoding processes. In the present study, we used eye movement monitoring to quantify age-related changes in behavioral pattern completion as a function of eye movements during both encoding and partially cued retrieval. Consistent with an age-related encoding deficit, older adults executed more gaze fixations and more similar eye movements across repeated image presentations than younger adults, and such effects were predictive of subsequent recognition memory. Analysis of eye movements at retrieval further indicated that in response to partial lure cues, older adults reactivated the similar studied image, indexed by the similarity between encoding and retrieval gaze patterns, and did so more than younger adults. Critically, reactivation of encoded image content via eye movements was associated with lure false alarms in older adults, providing direct evidence for a pattern completion bias. Together, these findings suggest that age-related changes in both encoding and retrieval processes, indexed by eye movements, underlie older adults' increased vulnerability to memory errors.
Guoli Yan; Zebo Lan; Zhu Meng; Yingchao Wang; Valerie Benson
Phonological coding during sentence reading in Chinese deaf readers: An eye-tracking study Journal Article
In: Scientific Studies of Reading, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 287–303, 2021.
Phonological coding plays an important role in reading for hearing students. Experimental findings regarding phonological coding in deaf readers are controversial, and whether deaf readers are able to use phonological coding remains unclear. In the current study we examined whether Chinese deaf students could use phonological coding during sentence reading. Deaf middle school students, chronological age-matched hearing students, and reading ability-matched hearing students had their eye movements recorded as they read sentences containing correctly spelled characters, homophones, or unrelated characters. Both hearing groups had shorter total reading times on homophones than they did on unrelated characters. In contrast, no significant difference was found between homophones and unrelated characters for the deaf students. However, when the deaf group was divided into more-skilled and less-skilled readers according to their scores on reading fluency, the homophone advantage noted for the hearing controls was also observed for the more-skilled deaf students.
Beier Yao; Martin Rolfs; Christopher McLaughlin; Emily L. Isenstein; Sylvia B. Guillory; Hannah Grosman; Deborah A. Kashy; Jennifer H. Foss-Feig; Katharine N. Thakkar
Oculomotor corollary discharge signaling is related to repetitive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 1–20, 2021.
Corollary discharge (CD) signals are “copies” of motor signals sent to sensory regions that allow animals to adjust sensory consequences of self-generated actions. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by sensory and motor deficits, which may be underpinned by altered CD signaling. We evaluated oculomotor CD using the blanking task, which measures the influence of saccades on visual perception, in 30 children with ASD and 35 typically developing (TD) children. Participants were instructed to make a saccade to a visual target. Upon saccade initiation, the presaccadic target disappeared and reappeared to the left or right of the original position. Participants indicated the direction of
Peng Zhou; Jiawei Shi; Likan Zhan
Real-time comprehension of garden-path constructions by preschoolers: A Mandarin perspective Journal Article
In: Applied Psycholinguistics, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 181–205, 2021.
The present study investigated whether 4- and 5-year-old Mandarin-speaking children are able to process garden-path constructions in real time when the working memory burden associated with revision and reanalysis is kept to minimum. In total, 25 4-year-olds, 25 5-year-olds, and 30 adults were tested using the visual-world paradigm of eye tracking. The obtained eye gaze patterns reflect that the 4- and 5-year-olds, like the adults, committed to an initial misinterpretation and later successfully revised their initial interpretation. The findings show that preschool children are able to revise and reanalyze their initial commitment and then arrive at the correct interpretation using the later-encountered linguistic information when processing the garden-path constructions in the current study. The findings also suggest that although the 4-year-olds successfully processed the garden-path constructions in real time, they were not as effective as the 5-year-olds and the adults in revising and reanalyzing their initial mistaken interpretation when later encountering the critical linguistic cue. Taken together, our findings call for a fine-grained model of child sentence processing.
Differences on prosaccade task in skilled and less skilled female adolescent soccer players Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 711420, 2021.
Although the relationship between cognitive processes and saccadic eye movements has been outlined, the relationship between specific cognitive processes underlying saccadic eye movements and skill level of soccer players remains unclear. Present study used the prosaccade task as a tool to investigate the difference in saccadic eye movements in skilled and less skilled Chinese female adolescent soccer players. Fifty-six healthy female adolescent soccer players (range: 14–18years, mean age: 16.5years) from Fujian Youth Football Training Base (Fujian Province, China) took part in the experiment. In the prosaccade task, participants were instructed to fixate at the cross at the center of the screen as long as the target appeared peripherally. They were told to saccade to the target as quickly and accurately as possible once it appeared. The results indicated that skilled soccer players exhibited shorter saccade latency (p=0.031), decreased variability of saccade latency (p=0.013), and higher spatial accuracy of saccade (p=0.032) than their less skilled counterparts. The shorter saccade latency and decreased variability of saccade latency may imply that the attentional system of skilled soccer player is superior which leads to smaller attention fluctuation and less attentional lapse. Additionally, higher spatial accuracy of saccade may imply potential structural differences in brain underlying saccadic eye movement between skilled and less skilled soccer players. More importantly, the results of the present study demonstrated that soccer players' cognitive capacities vary as a function of their skill levels. The limitations of the present study and future directions of research were discussed.
Annie Zheng; Jessica A. Church
A developmental eye tracking investigation of cued task switching performance Journal Article
In: Child Development, vol. 92, no. 4, pp. 1652–1672, 2021.
Children perform worse than adults on tests of cognitive flexibility, which is a component of executive function. To assess what aspects of a cognitive flexibility task (cued switching) children have difficulty with, investigators tested where eye gaze diverged over age. Eye-tracking was used as a proxy for attention during the preparatory period of each trial in 48 children ages 8–16 years and 51 adults ages 18–27 years. Children fixated more often and longer on the cued rule, and made more saccades between rule and response options. Behavioral performance correlated with gaze location and saccades. Mid-adolescents were similar to adults, supporting the slow maturation of cognitive flexibility. Lower preparatory control and associated lower cognitive flexibility task performance in development may particularly relate to rule processing.
Sainan Zhao; Lin Li; Min Chang; Jingxin Wang; Kevin B. Paterson
A further look at ageing and word predictability effects in Chinese reading: Evidence from one-character words Journal Article
In: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 74, no. 1, pp. 68–78, 2021.
Older adults are thought to compensate for slower lexical processing by making greater use of contextual knowledge, relative to young adults, to predict words in sentences. Accordingly, compared to young adults, older adults should produce larger contextual predictability effects in reading times and skipping rates for words. Empirical support for this account is nevertheless scarce. Perhaps the clearest evidence to date comes from a recent Chinese study showing larger word predictability effects for older adults in reading times but not skipping rates for two-character words. However, one possibility is that the absence of a word-skipping effect in this experiment was due to the older readers skipping words infrequently because of difficulty processing two-character words parafoveally. We therefore took a further look at this issue, using one-character target words to boost word-skipping. Young (18–30 years) and older (65+ years) adults read sentences containing a target word that was either highly predictable or less predictable from the prior sentence context. Our results replicate the finding that older adults produce larger word predictability effects in reading times but not word-skipping, despite high skipping rates. We discuss these findings in relation to ageing effects on reading in different writing systems.
Li Zhang; Guoli Yan; Valerie Benson
The influence of emotional face distractors on attentional orienting in Chinese children with autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 1–14, 2021.
The current study examined how emotional faces impact on attentional control at both involuntary and voluntary levels in children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A non-face single target was either presented in isolation or synchronously with emotional face distractors namely angry, happy and neutral faces. ASD and typically developing children made more erroneous saccades towards emotional distractors relative to neutral distractors in parafoveal and peripheral conditions. Remote distractor effects were observed on saccade latency in both groups regardless of distractor type, whereby time taken to initiate an eye movement to the target was longest in central distractor conditions, followed by parafoveal and peripheral distractor conditions. The remote distractor effect was greater for angry faces compared to happy faces in the ASD group. Proportions of failed disengagement trials from central distractors, for the first saccade, were higher in the angry distractor condition compared with the other two distractor conditions in ASD, and this effect was absent for the typical group. Eye movement results suggest difficulties in disengaging from fixated angry faces in ASD. Atypical disengagement from angry faces at the voluntary level could have consequences for the development of higher-level socio-communicative skills in ASD.
William Das; Shubh Khanna
A robust machine learning based framework for the automated detection of ADHD using pupillometric biomarkers and time series analysis Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 11, pp. 16370, 2021.
Accurate and efficient detection of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is critical to ensure proper treatment for affected individuals. Current clinical examinations, however, are inefficient and prone to misdiagnosis, as they rely on qualitative observations of perceived behavior. We propose a robust machine learning based framework that analyzes pupil-size dynamics as an objective biomarker for the automated detection of ADHD. Our framework integrates a comprehensive pupillometric feature engineering and visualization pipeline with state-of-the-art binary classification algorithms and univariate feature selection. The support vector machine classifier achieved an average 85.6% area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC), 77.3% sensitivity, and 75.3% specificity using ten-fold nested cross-validation (CV) on a declassified dataset of 50 patients. 218 of the 783 engineered features, including fourier transform metrics, absolute energy, consecutive quantile changes, approximate entropy, aggregated linear trends, as well as pupil-size dilation velocity, were found to be statistically significant differentiators (p < 0.05), and provide novel behavioral insights into associations between pupil-size dynamics and the presence of ADHD. Despite a limited sample size, the strong AUROC values highlight the robustness of the binary classifiers in detecting ADHD—as such, with additional data, sensitivity and specificity metrics can be substantially augmented. This study is the first to apply machine learning based methods for the detection of ADHD using solely pupillometrics, and highlights its strength as a potential discriminative biomarker, paving the path for the development of novel diagnostic applications to aid in the detection of ADHD using oculometric paradigms and machine learning.
Catherine Davies; Jamie Lingwood; Bissera Ivanova; Sudha Arunachalam
Three-year-olds' comprehension of contrastive and descriptive adjectives: Evidence for contrastive inference Journal Article
In: Cognition, vol. 212, pp. 104707, 2021.
Combining information from adjectives with the nouns they modify is essential for comprehension. Previous research suggests that preschoolers do not always integrate adjectives and nouns, and may instead over-rely on noun information when processing referring expressions (Fernald, Thorpe, & Marchman, 2010; Thorpe, Baumgartner, & Fernald, 2006). This disjointed processing has implications for pragmatics, apparently preventing under-fives from making contrastive inferences (Huang & Snedeker, 2013). Using a novel experimental design that allows preschoolers time to demonstrate their abilities in adjective-noun integration and in contrastive inference, two visual world experiments investigate how English-speaking three-year-olds (N = 73
Minke J. Boer; Tim Jürgens; Deniz Başkent; Frans W. Cornelissen
Auditory and visual integration for emotion recognition and compensation for degraded signals are preserved with age Journal Article
In: Trends in Hearing, vol. 25, pp. 1–20, 2021.
Since emotion recognition involves integration of the visual and auditory signals, it is likely that sensory impairments worsen emotion recognition. In emotion recognition, young adults can compensate for unimodal sensory degradations if the other modality is intact. However, most sensory impairments occur in the elderly population and it is unknown whether older adults are similarly capable of compensating for signal degradations. As a step towards studying potential effects of real sensory impairments, this study examined how degraded signals affect emotion recognition in older adults with normal hearing and vision. The degradations were designed to approximate some aspects of sensory impairments. Besides emotion recognition accuracy, we recorded eye movements to capture perceptual strategies for emotion recognition. Overall, older adults were as good as younger adults at integrating auditory and visual information and at compensating for degraded signals. However, accuracy was lower overall for older adults, indicating that aging leads to a general decrease in emotion recognition. In addition to decreased accuracy, older adults showed smaller adaptations of perceptual strategies in response to video degradations. Concluding, this study showed that emotion recognition declines with age, but that integration and compensation abilities are retained. In addition, we speculate that the reduced ability of older adults to adapt their perceptual strategies may be related to the increased time it takes them to direct their attention to scene aspects that are relatively far away from fixation.
Alex Carvalho; Cécile Crimon; Axel Barrault; John Trueswell; Anne Christophe
“Look! It is not a bamoule!”: 18- and 24-month-olds can use negative sentences to constrain their interpretation of novel word meanings Journal Article
In: Developmental Science, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. e13085, 2021.
Two word-learning experiments were conducted to investigate the understanding of negative sentences in 18- and 24-month-old children. In Experiment 1, after learning that bamoule means “penguin” and pirdaling means “cartwheeling,” 18-month-olds (n = 48) increased their looking times when listening to negative sentences rendered false by their visual context (“Look! It is not a bamoule!” while watching a video showing a penguin cartwheeling); however, they did not change their looking behavior when negative sentences were rendered true by their context (“Look! It is not pirdaling!” while watching a penguin spinning). In Experiment 2, 24-month-olds (n = 48) were first exposed to a teaching phase in which they saw a new cartoon character on a television (e.g., a blue monster). Participants in the affirmative condition listened to sentences like “It's a bamoule!” and participants in the negative condition listened to sentences like “It's not a bamoule!.” At test, all participants were asked to find the bamoule while viewing two images: the familiar character from the teaching phase versus a novel character (e.g., a red monster). Results showed that participants in the affirmative condition looked more to the familiar character (i.e., they learned the familiar character was a bamoule) than participants in the negative condition. Together, these studies provide the first evidence for the understanding of negative sentences during the second year of life. The ability to understand negative sentences so early might support language acquisition, providing infants with a tool to constrain the space of possibilities for word meanings.
Alex Carvalho; Isabelle Dautriche; Anne-Caroline Fiévét; Anne Christophe
Toddlers exploit referential and syntactic cues to flexibly adapt their interpretation of novel verb meanings Journal Article
In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 203, pp. 105017, 2021.
Because linguistic communication is often noisy and uncertain, adults flexibly rely on different information sources during sentence processing. We tested whether toddlers engage in a similar process and how that process interacts with verb learning. Across two experiments, we presented French 28-month-olds with right-dislocated sentences featuring a novel verb (“Hei is VERBing, the boyi”), where a clear prosodic boundary after the verb indicates that the sentence is intransitive (such that the NP “the boy” is coreferential with the pronoun “he” and the sentence means “The boy is VERBing”). By default, toddlers incorrectly interpreted the sentence based on the number of NPs (assuming, e.g., that someone is VERBing the boy). Yet, when children were provided with additional information about the syntactic contexts (Experiment 1
Gayle DeDe; Denis Kelleher
Effects of animacy and sentence type on silent reading comprehension in aphasia: An eye-tracking study Journal Article
In: Journal of Neurolinguistics, vol. 57, pp. 100950, 2021.
The present study examined how healthy aging and aphasia influence the capacity for readers to generate structural predictions during online reading, and how animacy cues influence this process. Non-brain-damaged younger (n = 24) and older (n = 12) adults (Experiment 1) and individuals with aphasia (IWA; n = 11; Experiment 2) read subject relative and object relative sentences in an eye-tracking experiment. Half of the sentences included animate sentential subjects, and the other half included inanimate sentential subjects. All three groups used animacy information to mitigate effects of syntactic complexity. These effects were greater in older than younger adults. IWA were sensitive to structural frequency, with longer reading times for object relative than subject relative sentences. As in previous work, effects of structural complexity did not emerge on IWA's first pass through the sentence, but were observed when IWA reread critical segments of the sentences. Thus, IWA may adopt atypical reading strategies when they encounter low frequency or complex sentence structures, but they are able to use animacy information to reduce the processing disruptions associated with these structures.
Kelsey L. C. Dzwilewski; Megan L. Woodbury; Andrea Aguiar; Jessica Shoaff; Francheska Merced-Nieves; Susan A. Korrick; Susan L. Schantz
Associations of prenatal exposure to phthalates with measures of cognition in 7.5-month-old infants Journal Article
In: NeuroToxicology, vol. 84, pp. 84–95, 2021.
Background: Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals that have been associated with adverse neurobehavior, but little is known about their influence on infant cognition. Methods: A visual recognition memory task was used to assess cognition in 244 7–8-month-old infants (121 females; 123 males) from a prospective cohort study. Phthalate metabolites were quantified in maternal urines pooled from across pregnancy. The task included familiarization trials (infant shown 2 identical faces) and test trials (infant shown the now familiar face paired with a novel one). Half of the infants saw one set of faces as familiar (set 1) and half saw the other set as familiar (set 2). During familiarization trials, average run duration (time looking at stimuli before looking away, measure of processing speed), and time to familiarization (time to reach 20 s looking at the stimuli, measure of attention) were assessed. During test trials, novelty preference (proportion of time looking at the novel face, measure of recognition memory) was assessed. Multivariable generalized linear models were used to assess associations of monoethyl phthalate (MEP), sum of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites ($Sigma$DEHP), sum of di(isononyl) phthalate metabolites ($Sigma$DINP), and sum of anti-androgenic phthalate metabolites ($Sigma$AA) with each outcome. Results: Mothers were mostly white and college educated, and urine phthalate concentrations were similar to those in reproductive age women in the U.S. population. All phthalate exposure biomarkers, except MEP, were associated with increases in average run duration. However, depending on the phthalate, associations were only in males or infants who saw the set 2 stimuli as familiar. Unexpectedly, $Sigma$AA was associated with a shorter time to reach familiarization. Phthalate biomarkers also were associated with modest decrements in novelty preference, but these associations were nonsignificant. Conclusion: Prenatal exposure to phthalates may be related to slower information processing and poorer recognition memory in infants.
Stephanie M. Eick; Elizabeth A. Enright; Sarah D. Geiger; Kelsey L. C. Dzwilewski; Erin DeMicco; Sabrina Smith; June-Soo Park; Andrea Aguiar; Tracey J. Woodruff; Rachel Morello-Frosch; Susan L. Schantz
Associations of maternal stress, prenatal exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and demographic risk factors with birth outcomes and offspring neurodevelopment: An overview of the ECHO.CA.IL prospective birth cohorts Journal Article
In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 1–17, 2021.
Background. Infants whose mothers experience greater psychosocial stress and environmental chemical exposures during pregnancy may face greater rates of preterm birth, lower birth weight, and impaired neurodevelopment. Methods. ECHO.CA.IL is composed of two cohorts, Chemicals in Our Bodies (CIOB; n = 822 pregnant women and n = 286 infants) and Illinois Kids Development Study (IKIDS; n = 565 mother-infant pairs), which recruit pregnant women from San Francisco, CA and Urbana-Champaign, IL, respectively. We examined associations between demographic characteristics and gestational age, birth weight z-scores, and cognition at 7.5 months across these two cohorts using linear models. We also examined differences in biomarkers of exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), measured in second-trimester serum, and psychosocial stressors by cohort and participant demographics. Results. To date, these cohorts have recruited over 1300 pregnant women combined. IKIDS has mothers who are majority white (80%), whereas CIOB mothers are racially and ethnically diverse (38% white, 34% Hispanic, 17% Asian/Pacific Islander). Compared to CIOB, median levels of PFOS, a specific PFAS congener, are higher in IKIDS (2.45 ng/mL versus 1.94 ng/mL), while psychosocial stressors are higher among CIOB. Across both cohorts, women who were non-white and single had lower birth weight z-scores relative to white women and married women, respectively. Demographic characteristics are not associated with cognitive outcomes at 7.5 months. Conclusions. This profile of the ECHO.CA.IL cohort found that mothers and their infants who vary in terms of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and geographic location are similar in many of our measures of exposures and cognitive outcomes. Similar to past work, we found that non-white and single women had lower birth weight infants than white and married women. We also found differences in levels of PFOS and psychosocial stressors based on geographic location.
Erica M. Ellis; Arielle Borovsky; Jeffrey L. Elman; Julia L. Evans
Toddlers' ability to leverage statistical information to support word learning Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 600694, 2021.
Purpose: This study investigated whether the ability to utilize statistical regularities from fluent speech and map potential words to meaning at 18-months predicts vocabulary at 18- and again at 24-months. Method: Eighteen-month-olds (N = 47) were exposed to an artificial language with statistical regularities within the speech stream, then participated in an object-label learning task. Learning was measured using a modified looking-while-listening eye-tracking design. Parents completed vocabulary questionnaires when their child was 18-and 24-months old. Results: Ability to learn the object-label pairing for words after exposure to the artificial language predicted productive vocabulary at 24-months and amount of vocabulary change from 18- to 24 months, independent of non-verbal cognitive ability, socio-economic status (SES) and/or object-label association performance. Conclusion: Eighteen-month-olds' ability to use statistical information derived from fluent speech to identify words within the stream of speech and then to map the “words” to meaning directly predicts vocabulary size at 24-months and vocabulary change from 18 to 24 months. The findings support the hypothesis that statistical word segmentation is one of the important aspects of word learning and vocabulary acquisition in toddlers.
Eeva Eskola; Eeva Leena Kataja; Jukka Hyönä; Tuomo Häikiö; Juho Pelto; Hasse Karlsson; Linnea Karlsson; Riikka Korja
Behavioral regulatory problems are associated with a lower attentional bias to fearful faces during infancy Journal Article
In: Child Development, vol. 92, no. 4, pp. 1539–1553, 2021.
To investigate the role of early regulatory problems (RP), such as problems in feeding, sleeping, and calming down during later development, the association between parent-reported RP at 3 months (no-RP
Eunice G. Fernandes; Louise H. Phillips; Gillian Slessor; Benjamin W. Tatler
The interplay between gaze and consistency in scene viewing: Evidence from visual search by young and older adults Journal Article
In: Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol. 83, no. 5, pp. 1954–1970, 2021.
Searching for an object in a complex scene is influenced by high-level factors such as how much the item would be expected in that setting (semantic consistency). There is also evidence that a person gazing at an object directs our attention towards it. However, there has been little previous research that has helped to understand how we integrate top-down cues such as semantic consistency and gaze to direct attention when searching for an object. Also, there are separate lines of evidence to suggest that older adults may be more influenced by semantic factors and less by gaze cues compared to younger counterparts, but this has not been investigated before in an integrated task. In the current study we analysed eye-movements of 34 younger and 30 older adults as they searched for a target object in complex visual scenes. Younger adults were influenced by semantic consistency in their attention to objects, but were more influenced by gaze cues. In contrast, older adults were more guided by semantic consistency in directing their attention, and showed less influence from gaze cues. These age differences in use of high-level cues were apparent early in processing (time to first fixation and probability of immediate fixation) but not in later processing (total time looking at objects and time to make a response). Overall, this pattern of findings indicates that people are influenced by both social cues and prior expectations when processing a complex scene, and the relative importance of these factors depends on age.
Courtney A. Filippi; Anni Subar; Sanjana Ravi; Sara Haas; Sonya V. Troller-Renfree; Nathan A. Fox; Ellen Leibenluft; Daniel S. Pine
Developmental changes in the association between cognitive control and anxiety Journal Article
In: Child Psychiatry and Human Development, pp. 1–11, 2021.
Anxiety has been associated with reliance on reactive (stimulus-driven/reflexive) control strategies in response to conflict. However, this conclusion rests primarily on indirect evidence. Few studies utilize tasks that dissociate the use of reactive (‘just in time') vs. proactive (anticipatory/preparatory) cognitive control strategies in response to conflict, and none examine children diagnosed with anxiety. The current study utilizes the AX-CPT, which dissociates these two types of cognitive control, to examine cognitive control in youth (ages 8–18) with and without an anxiety diagnosis (n = 56). Results illustrate that planful behavior, consistent with using a proactive strategy, varies by both age and anxiety symptoms. Young children (ages 8–12 years) with high anxiety exhibit significantly less planful behavior than similarly-aged children with low anxiety. These findings highlight the importance of considering how maturation influences relations between anxiety and performance on cognitive-control tasks and have implications for understanding the pathophysiology of anxiety in children.
Adèle Gallant; Annie Roy-Charland
Search for the developmental turning point in perceptual-attentional processing in the confusion between fear and surprise Journal Article
In: The Journal of Genetic Psychology, vol. 182, no. 2, pp. 122–128, 2021.
This project examined viewing times and saccades while participants recognize fear and surprise presented in pairs within groups. Roy-Charland, Perron, Young, Boulard, and Chamberland (2015) found that children ages 9–11 were as accurate as adults in recognizing the emotions, and both groups were higher than children ages 3–5. Interestingly, the two groups of children made fewer saccades between the pair of faces and viewed the expressions longer than the adult group. Thus, while accuracy is equal to adults by ages 9–11, visual processing differs. This project added a group of adolescents (14–17) in search of a turning point in visual strategies used in the perceptual-attentional processing of fear and surprise. Results suggest a speed/accuracy tradeoff. In effect, adolescents were as fast as adults, but their accuracy was lower. Furthermore, adolescents made fewer saccades than adults, similar to groups aged 3–5 and 9–11 years old. These results add another piece in the understanding of the developmental trajectory of recognition of facial expressions.
Katja I. Haeuser; Shari Baum; Debra Titone
Effects of aging and noncanonical form presentation on idiom processing: Evidence from eye tracking Journal Article
In: Applied Psycholinguistics, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 101–127, 2021.
Comprehending idioms (e.g., bite the bullet) requires that people appreciate their figurative meanings while suppressing literal interpretations of the phrase. While much is known about idioms, an open question is how healthy aging and noncanonical form presentation affect idiom comprehension when the task is to read sentences silently for comprehension. Here, younger and older adults read sentences containing idioms or literal phrases, while we monitored their eye movements. Idioms were presented in a canonical or a noncanonical form (e.g., bite the iron bullet). To assess whether people integrate figurative or literal interpretations of idioms, a disambiguating region that was figuratively or literally biased followed the idiom in each sentence. During early stages of reading, older adults showed facilitation for canonical idioms, suggesting a greater sensitivity to stored idiomatic forms. During later stages of reading, older adults showed slower reading times when canonical idioms were biased toward their literal interpretation, suggesting they were more likely to interpret idioms figuratively on the first pass. In contrast, noncanonical form presentation slowed comprehension of figurative meanings comparably in younger and older participants. We conclude that idioms may be more strongly entrenched in older adults, and that noncanonical form presentation slows comprehension of figurative meanings.
Tami Harel-Arbeli; Arthur Wingfield; Yuval Palgi; Boaz M. Ben-David
Age-related differences in the online processing of spoken semantic context and the effect of semantic competition: Evidence from eye gaze Journal Article
In: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 315–327, 2021.
Purpose: The study examined age-related differences in the use of semantic context and in the effect of semantic competition in spoken sentence processing. We used offline (response latency) and online (eye gaze) measures, using the “visual world” eye-tracking paradigm. Method: Thirty younger and 30 older adults heard sentences related to one of four images presented on a computer monitor. They were asked to touch the image corresponding to the final word of the sentence (target word). Three conditions were used: a nonpredictive sentence, a predictive sentence suggesting one of the four images on the screen (semantic context), and a predictive sentence suggesting two possible images (semantic competition). Results: Online eye gaze data showed no age-related differences with nonpredictive sentences, but revealed slowed processing for older adults when context was presented. With the addition of semantic competition to context, older adults were slower to look at the target word after it had been heard. In contrast, offline latency analysis did not show age-related differences in the effects of context and competition. As expected, older adults were generally slower to touch the image than younger adults. Conclusions: Traditional offline measures were not able to reveal the complex effect of aging on spoken semantic context processing. Online eye gaze measures suggest that older adults were slower than younger adults to predict an indicated object based on semantic context. Semantic competition affected online processing for older adults more than for younger adults, with no accompanying age-related differences in latency. This supports an early age-related inhibition deficit, interfering with processing, and not necessarily with response execution.
Anita Harrewijn; Rany Abend; Reut Naim; Simone P. Haller; Caitlin M. Stavish; Mira A. Bajaj; Chika Matsumoto; Kelly Dombek; Elise M. Cardinale; Katharina Kircanski; Melissa A. Brotman
Attention bias to negative versus non-negative faces is related to negative affectivity in a transdiagnostic youth sample Journal Article
In: Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 138, pp. 514–518, 2021.
This study identified a shared pathophysiological mechanism of pediatric anxiety and irritability. Clinically, anxiety and irritability are common, co-occurring problems, both characterized by high-arousal negative affective states. Behaviorally, anxiety and irritability are associated with aberrant threat processing. To build on these findings, we examined eye-tracking measures of attention bias in relation to the unique and shared features of anxiety and irritability in a transdiagnostic sample of youth (n = 97, 58% female
J. Hartwig; A. Kretschmer-trendowicz; J. R. Helmert; M. L. Jung; S. Pannasch
Revealing the dynamics of prospective memory processes in children with eye movements Journal Article
In: International Journal of Psychophysiology, vol. 160, pp. 38–55, 2021.
Prospective memory (PM), the memory for delayed intentions, develops during childhood. The current study examined PM processes, such as monitoring, PM cue identification and intention retrieval with particular focus on their temporal dynamics and interrelations during successful and unsuccessful PM performance. We analysed eye movements of 6–7 and 9–10 year olds during the inspection of movie stills while they completed one of three different tasks: scene viewing followed by a snippet allocation task, a PM task and a visual search task. We also tested children's executive functions of inhibition, flexibility and working memory. We found that older children outperformed younger children in all tasks but neither age group showed variations in monitoring behaviour during the course of the PM task. In fact, neither age group monitored. According to our data, initial processes necessary for PM success take place during the first fixation on the PM cue. In PM hit trials we found prolonged fixations after the first fixation on the PM cue, and older children showed a greater efficiency in PM processes following this first PM cue fixation. Regarding executive functions, only working memory had a significant effect on children's PM performance. Across both age groups children with better working memory scores needed less time to react to the PM cue. Our data support the notion that children rely on spontaneous processes to notice the PM cue, followed by a resource intensive search for the intended action.
Liyuan He; Weidong Ma; Fengdan Shen; Yongsheng Wang; Jie Wu; Kayleigh L. Warrington; Simon P. Liversedge; Kevin B. Paterson
Adult age differences in parafoveal preview effects during reading: Evidence from Chinese Journal Article
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 36, no. 7, pp. 822–833, 2021.
We investigated parafoveal processing by 44 young (18–30 years) and 44 older (65+ years) Chinese readers using eye movement measures. Participants read sentences which included an invisible boundary after a two-character word (N) and before two one-character words (N + 1, N + 2). Before a reader's gaze crossed the boundary, N + 1 and N + 2 were shown normally or masked (i.e., as valid/invalid previews), after which they reverted to normal. Young adults obtained preview beneﬁts (a processing advantage for valid over invalid previews) for both words. However, older adults obtained N + 2 preview beneﬁts only when N + 1 was valid, suggesting their parafoveal processing is more limited
Coralie Hemptinne; Nicolas Deravet; Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry; Philippe Lefèvre; Demet Yüksel
Influence of prior and visual information on eye movements in amblyopic children Journal Article
In: Journal of Computational Neuroscience, vol. 49, pp. 333–343, 2021.
This study analyzed the characteristics of pursuit and assessed the influence of prior and visual information on eye velocity and saccades in amblyopic and control children, in comparison to adults. Eye movements of 41 children (21 amblyopes and 20 controls) were compared to eye movements of 55 adults (18 amblyopes and 37 controls). Participants were asked to pursue a target moving at a constant velocity. The target was either a ‘standard' target, with a uniform color intensity, or a ‘noisy' target, with blurry edges, to mimic the blurriness of an amblyopic eye. Analysis of pursuit patterns showed that the onset was delayed, and the gain was decreased in control children with a noisy target in comparison to amblyopic or control children with a standard target. Furthermore, a significant effect of prior and visual information on pursuit velocity and saccades was found across all participants. Moreover, the modulation of the effect of visual information on the pursuit velocity by group, that is amblyopes or controls with a standard target, and controls with a noisy target, was more limited in children. In other words, the effect of visual information was higher in control adults with a standard target compared to control children with the same target. However, in the case of a blurry target, either in control participants with a noisy target or in amblyopic participants with a standard target, the effect of visual information was larger in children.
Kristi Hendrickson; Jacob Oleson; Elizabeth Walker
School-age children adapt the dynamics of lexical competition in suboptimal listening conditions Journal Article
In: Child Development, vol. 92, no. 2, pp. 638–649, 2021.
Although the ability to understand speech in adverse listening conditions is paramount for effective communication across the life span, little is understood about how this critical processing skill develops. This study asks how the dynamics of spoken word recognition (i.e., lexical access and competition) change during soft speech in 8- to 11-year-olds (n = 26). Lexical competition and access for speech at lower intensity levels was measured using eye-tracking and the visual world paradigm. Overall the results suggest that soft speech influences the magnitude and timing of lexical access and competition. These results suggest that lexical competition is a cognitive process that can be adapted in the school-age years to help cope with increased uncertainty due to alterations in the speech signal.
Annina K. Hessel; Kate Nation; Victoria A. Murphy
Comprehension monitoring during reading: An eye-tracking study with children learning English as an additional language Journal Article
In: Scientific Studies of Reading, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 159–178, 2021.
This experiment investigated comprehension monitoring in children learning English as an additional language (EAL) compared to monolinguals. Sixty-three 9–10-year-old children read texts containing an internal inconsistency (e.g. a barking kitten vs. barking puppy) while their eye movements were monitored. Standardized tests measured word reading fluency and vocabulary size and the children completed a questionnaire tapping rereading behavior. There was no overall difference between EAL and monolingual children. Regardless of EAL status, children with larger vocabularies were more efficient in their re-analysis of inconsistent information, as revealed by regressive eye movements. As efficient re-analysis of inconsistent information is essential for comprehension and is ubiquitous in proficient readers, the presence of this pattern in the children is indicative of successful online monitoring. However, rereading of inconsistent vs consistent words in the eye movement record was not related to children's self-reported rereading, not providing any support for deliberate rereading. Our findings indicate that successful online monitoring relies on strong word knowledge leading to efficient processing of texts, both for bilingual and monolingual children, and beyond deliberate rereading.
Francheska M. Merced-Nieves; Kelsey L. C. Dzwilewski; Andrea Aguiar; Jue Lin; Susan L. Schantz
Associations of prenatal maternal stress with measures of cognition in 7.5-month-old infants Journal Article
In: Developmental Psychobiology, vol. 63, no. 5, pp. 960–972, 2021.
Studies have shown that prenatal stress can negatively impact neurodevelopment, but little is known about its effect on early cognitive development. We assessed the impact of prenatal stress on cognition in 152 7.5-month-old infants using Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), maternal telomere length (MTL), and a Stressful Life Events (SLE) Scale. A visual recognition memory task consisting of nine blocks, each with one familiarization trial (two identical stimuli) followed by two test trials (one familiar stimulus, one novel), was administered. Outcomes assessed included: average time looking at stimuli (measure: processing speed), time to reach looking time criterion (measure: attention), and the proportion of time looking at the novel stimulus (measure: recognition memory). We examined the association of each stress measure with each outcome adjusted for infant age and sex, which of the two stimuli in each set was novel, household income, and maternal age, education, and IQ. Higher prenatal stress was associated with shorter looking durations [PSS ($beta$ = −1.6, 95% CI: −2.5, −0.58); SLE ($beta$ = 0.58, 95% CI: −0.08, 1.24); MTL ($beta$ = 1.81, 95% CI: 0.18, 3.44)] and longer time to reach criterion [PSS ($beta$ = 9.1, 95% CI: 1.6, 16.6); SLE ($beta$ = 12.2, 95% CI: 1.9, 24.1); MTL ($beta$ = −23.1, 95% CI: −45.3, −0.9)], suggesting that higher prenatal stress is associated with decreased visual attention in infancy.
Emmelien Merchie; Leen Catrysse; Hilde Van Keer
Mind maps as primers when reading-for-learning in elementary grades? An eye tracking study Journal Article
In: Instructional Science, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 23–65, 2021.
Mind maps are often used to help readers process texts, but their effectiveness is empirically under-investigated. This study explores whether the use of mind maps presented either before or after the text can prime successful selective processing strategies related to the text topic structure. Differences in performance outcomes (i.e., memory and comprehension) are also investigated. Sixty-four late elementary education students were randomly assigned to a text-only-condition (T), mind map-text-condition (MMT) or text-mind map-condition (TMM). All groups studied an informative text while their eye movements were registered. Multilayered posttests and interviews were administered. Linear mixed effect models and one-way analysis of variances show that presenting a mind map beforehand primes more successful selective processing strategies than when the mind map is presented afterwards or not presented. In contrast, the TMM-condition outperformed the others in their amount of free recall and coherence. This study suggests that both receiving a mind map before or after text processing can be beneficial during targeted instruction in view of successful reading-for-learning.
Martina Micai; Mila Vulchanova; David Saldaña
Reading goals and executive function in autism: An eye-tracking study Journal Article
In: Autism Research, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 1007–1024, 2021.
The sources of reading comprehension difficulties in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are still open to discussion. We explored their ability to adapt reading strategies to different reading goals using eye-tracking technology. A group of participants with ASD, and intelligence-, receptive oral language- and reading skills-matched control peers, read three stories under three different reading goals conditions: read for entertainment; read for study; and read fast and search information for a previously presented question. Each text required participants to answer comprehension questions. The ASD group was less accurate in question answering. The control group was faster in reading questions, displayed more fixations on the text, and reported to be more confident in question answering during reading for study compared to reading for entertainment. These differences between reading goals were not observed in the ASD group. The control group adopted and was aware of using different reading strategies according to different reading goals. In contrast, the ASD group did not change their reading behavior and strategies between entertainment and study reading goal condition, showing less of a tendency to adopt deep-level processing strategies when necessary. Planning, as measured by Tower of Hanoi, was the only executive task that predicted individual differences in text reading time across conditions. Participants with better planning ability were also able to adapt their reading behavior to different reading instructions. Difficulties in adjusting the reading behavior according to the task, evaluating own performance and planning may be partly involved in reading comprehension problems in ASD. Lay abstract: The control group read questions faster, reported to be more confident in question answering during reading for study compared to reading for entertainment, and were aware of using different reading strategies according to different reading goals. In contrast, the autistic group did not change their reading behavior and strategies according to the reading goal. Difficulties in adjusting the reading behavior according to the task, in evaluating own performance and in planning may be partly involved in reading comprehension problems in autism.
Evelyn Milburn; Michael Walsh Dickey; Tessa Warren; Rebecca Hayes
Increased reliance on world knowledge during language comprehension in healthy aging: Evidence from verb-argument prediction Journal Article
In: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, pp. 1–33, 2021.
Cognitive aging negatively impacts language comprehension performance. However, there is evidence that older adults skillfully use linguistic context and their crystallized world knowledge to offset age-related changes that negatively impact comprehension. Two visual-world paradigm experiments examined how aging changes verb-argument prediction, a comprehension process that relies on world knowledge but has rarely been examined in the cognitive-aging literature. Older adults did not differ from younger adults in their activation of an upcoming likely verb argument, particularly when cued by a semantically-rich agent+verb combination (Experiment 1). However, older adults showed elevated activation of previously-mentioned agents (Experiment 1) and of unlikely but verb-congruent referents (Experiment 2). This is novel evidence that older adults exploit semantic context and world knowledge during comprehension to successfully activate upcoming referents. However, older adults also show elevated activation of irrelevant information, consistent with previous findings demonstrating that older adults may experience greater proactive interference and competition from task-irrelevant information.
Sara V. Milledge; Hazel I. Blythe; Simon P. Liversedge
Parafoveal pre-processing in children reading English: The importance of external letters Journal Article
In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 197–208, 2021.
Although previous research has demonstrated that for adults external letters of words are more important than internal letters for lexical processing during reading, no comparable research has been conducted with children. This experiment explored, using the boundary paradigm during silent sentence reading, whether parafoveal pre-processing in English is more affected by the manipulation of external letters or internal letters, and whether this differs between skilled adult and beginner child readers. Six previews were generated: identity (e.g., monkey); external letter manipulations where either the beginning three letters of the word were substituted (e.g., rackey) or the last three letters of the word were substituted (e.g., monhig); internal letter manipulations; e.g., machey, mochiy); and an unrelated control condition (e.g., rachig). Results indicate that both adults and children undertook pre-processing of words in their entirety in the parafovea, and that the manipulation of external letters in preview was more harmful to participants' parafoveal pre-processing than internal letters. The data also suggest developmental change in the time course of pre-processing, with children's pre-processing delayed compared to that of adults. These results not only provide further evidence for the importance of external letters to parafoveal processing and lexical identification for adults, but also demonstrate that such findings can be extended to children.
Carly Moser; Lyndsay Schmitt; Joseph Schmidt; Amanda Fairchild; Jessica Klusek
Response inhibition deficits in women with the FMR1 premutation are associated with age and gall risk Journal Article
In: Brain and Cognition, vol. 148, pp. 1–10, 2021.
One in 113-178 females worldwide carry a premutation allele on the FMR1 gene. The FMR1 premutation is linked to neurocognitive and neuromotor impairments, although the phenotype is not fully understood, particularly with respect to age effects. This study sought to define oculomotor response inhibition skills in women with the FMR1 premutation and their association with age and fall risk. We employed an antisaccade eye- tracking paradigm to index oculomotor inhibition skills in 35 women with the FMR1 premutation and 28 control women. The FMR1 premutation group exhibited longer antisaccade latency and reduced accuracy relative to controls, indicating deficient response inhibition skills. Longer response latency was associated with older age in the FMR1 premutation and was also predictive of fall risk. Findings highlight the utility of the antisaccade paradigm for detecting early signs of age-related executive decline in the FMR1 premutation, which is related to fall risk. Findings support the need for clinical prevention efforts to decrease and delay the trajectory of age-related executive decline in women with the FMR1 premutation during midlife.
Kinan Muhammed; Michael Ben Yehuda; Daniel Drew; Sanjay Manohar; Masud Husain
Reward sensitivity and action in Parkinson's disease patients with and without apathy Journal Article
In: Brain Communications, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. fcab022, 2021.
Clinical apathy results in dysfunction of goal directed behaviour, a key component of which is the initiation of action. Previous work has suggested that blunting of reward sensitivity is an important mechanism underlying apathy. However, an additional component might be impoverished initiation of action itself. This study aims to investigate the link between motivation and motor output and its association with apathy and dopamine. An oculomotor task that measures pupillary and saccadic response to monetary incentives was used to assess reward sensitivity, first in 23 young and 18 elderly controls, and then in 22 patients with Parkinson's disease tested ON and OFF dopaminergic medication. To distinguish between pupillary responses to anticipated reward alone versus responses associated with motor preparation, a saccadic ‘go/no-go' task was performed. Half of the trials required a saccade to be initiated to receive a reward and in the remaining trials no action was required but reward was still obtained. No significant difference in pupil response was demonstrated between the two conditions in all groups tested, suggesting pupillary responses to rewards are not contingent upon motor preparation in Parkinson's disease. Being ON or OFF dopamine did not influence this response either. Previous work demonstrated associations between apathy and pupillary reward insensitivity in Parkinson's disease. Here we observed this effect only when an action was required to receive a reward, and only in the ON state. These findings suggest that apathy in Parkinson's disease is linked to reduced reward sensitivity and that this is most prominently observed when actions have to be initiated to rewarding goals, with the effect modulated by being ON dopaminergic medication. OFF medication, there was no such strong relationship, and similarly in the ‘no-go' conditions, either ON or OFF dopaminergic drugs. The results provide preliminary data which suggest that apathy in Parkinson's disease is associated with a reduction in reward sensitivity and this is most evident when associated with initiation of goal directed actions in the presence of adequate dopamine.
Mira L. Nencheva; Elise A. Piazza; Casey Lew-Williams
The moment-to-moment pitch dynamics of child-directed speech shape toddlers' attention and learning Journal Article
In: Developmental Science, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. e12997, 2021.
Young children have an overall preference for child-directed speech (CDS) over adult-directed speech (ADS), and its structural features are thought to facilitate language learning. Many studies have supported these findings, but less is known about processing of CDS at short, sub-second timescales. How do the moment-to-moment dynamics of CDS influence young children's attention and learning? In Study 1, we used hierarchical clustering to characterize patterns of pitch variability in a natural CDS corpus, which uncovered four main word-level contour shapes: ‘fall', ‘rise', ‘hill', and ‘valley'. In Study 2, we adapted a measure from adult attention research—pupil size synchrony—to quantify real-time attention to speech across participants, and found that toddlers showed higher synchrony to the dynamics of CDS than to ADS. Importantly, there were consistent differences in toddlers' attention when listening to the four word-level contour types. In Study 3, we found that pupil size synchrony during exposure to novel words predicted toddlers' learning at test. This suggests that the dynamics of pitch in CDS not only shape toddlers' attention but guide their learning of new words. By revealing a physiological response to the real-time dynamics of CDS, this investigation yields a new sub-second framework for understanding young children's engagement with one of the most important signals in their environment.
Bao N. Nguyen; Scott C. Kolbe; Ashika Verghese; Christine Nearchou; Allison M. McKendrick; Gary F. Egan; Trichur R. Vidyasagar
Visual search efficiency and functional visual cortical size in children with and without dyslexia Journal Article
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 155, pp. 107819, 2021.
Dyslexia is characterised by poor reading ability. Its aetiology is probably multifactorial, with abnormal visual processing playing an important role. Among adults with normal reading ability, there is a larger representation of central visual field in the primary visual cortex (V1) in those with more efficient visuospatial attention. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that poor reading ability in school-aged children (17 children with dyslexia, 14 control children with normal reading ability) is associated with deficits in visuospatial attention using a visual search task. We corroborated the psychophysical findings with neuroimaging, by measuring the functional size of V1 in response to a central 12° visual stimulus. Consistent with other literature, visual search was impaired and less efficient in the dyslexic children, particularly with more distractor elements in the search array (p = 0.04). We also found atypical interhemispheric asymmetry in functional V1 size in the dyslexia group (p = 0.02). Reading impaired children showed poorer visual search efficiency (p = 0.01), needing more time per unit distractor (higher ms/item). Reading ability was also correlated with V1 size asymmetry (p = 0.03), such that poorer readers showed less left hemisphere bias relative to the right hemisphere. Our findings support the view that dyslexic children have abnormal visuospatial attention and interhemispheric V1 asymmetry, relative to chronological age-matched peers, and that these factors may contribute to inter-individual variation in reading performance in children.
Ewa Niechwiej-Szwedo; Susana Wu; Mina Nouredanesh; James Tung; Lisa W. Christian
Development of eye-hand coordination in typically developing children and adolescents assessed using a reach-to-grasp sequencing task Journal Article
In: Human Movement Science, vol. 80, pp. 102868, 2021.
Eye-hand coordination is required to accurately perform daily activities that involve reaching, grasping and manipulating objects. Studies using aiming, grasping or sequencing tasks have shown a stereotypical temporal coupling pattern where the eyes are directed to the object in advance of the hand movement, which may facilitate the planning and execution required for reaching. While the temporal coordination between the ocular and manual systems has been extensively investigated in adults, relatively little is known about the typical development of eye-hand coordination. Therefore, the current study addressed an important knowledge gap by characterizing the profile of eye-hand coupling in typically developing school-age children (n = 57) and in a cohort of adults (n = 30). Eye and hand movements were recorded concurrently during the performance of a bead threading task which consists of four distinct movements: reach to bead, grasp, reach to needle, and thread. Results showed a moderate to high correlation between eye and hand latencies in children and adults, supporting that both movements were planned in parallel. Eye and reach latencies, latency differences, and dwell time during grasping and threading, showed significant age-related differences, suggesting eye-hand coupling becomes more efficient in adolescence. Furthermore, visual acuity, stereoacuity and accommodative facility were also found to be associated with the efficiency of eye-hand coordination in children. Results from this study can serve as reference values when examining eye and hand movement during the performance of fine motor skills in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Claire F. Noonan; Brianna K. Hunter; Julie Markant
Dynamic emotional messages differentially affect 6-month-old infants' attention to eyes and gaze cues Journal Article
In: Infant Behavior and Development, vol. 64, pp. 101626, 2021.
Infants often experience interactions in which caregivers use dynamic messages to convey their affective and communicative intent. These dynamic emotional messages may shape the development of emotion discrimination skills and shared attention by influencing infants' attention to internal facial features and their responses to eye gaze cues. However, past research examining infants' responses to emotional faces has predominantly focused on classic, stereotyped expressions (e.g., happy, sad, angry) that may not reflect the variability that infants experience in their daily interactions. The present study therefore examined forty-two 6-month-old infants' attention to eyes vs. mouth and gaze cueing responses across multiple dynamic emotional messages that are common to infant-directed interactions. Overall, infants looked more to the eyes during messages with negative affect, but this increased attention to the eyes during these message conditions did not directly facilitate gaze cueing. Infants instead showed reliable gaze cueing only after messages with positive and neutral affect. We additionally observed gender differences in infants' attention to internal face features and subsequent gaze cueing responses. Female infants spent more time looking at the eyes during the dynamic emotional messages and showed increased initial orienting and longer looking to gaze-cued objects following positive messages, whereas male infants showed these gaze cueing effects following neutral messages. These results suggest that variability in caregivers' communication can shape infants' attention to and processing of emotion and gaze information.
Jessie R. Oldham; Christina L. Master; Gregory A. Walker; William P. Meehan; David R. Howell
The association between baseline eye tracking performance and concussion assessments in high school football players Journal Article
In: Optometry and Vision Science, vol. 98, no. 7, pp. 826–832, 2021.
SIGNIFICANCE Concussions are complex injuries that require a multifaceted testing battery. Vision impairments are common after concussion, but it is unknown exactly how eye tracking may be affected after injury and how it is associated with other clinical concussion assessments. PURPOSE This study aimed to (1) examine the relationship between eye tracking performance (BOX score) and other common concussion evaluations, (2) identify if eye tracking adds novel information that augments baseline concussion evaluations, and (3) examine the effect of age, concussion history, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder on eye tracking and other ophthalmological measures. METHODS A total of 102 male high school football athletes (age, 16.0 years; 95% confidence interval, 15.8 to 16.2 years) completed a series of visual and neurocognitive tests during their pre-season baseline assessment. The main outcome measures were BOX score, near point of convergence (NPC) distance, binocular accommodative amplitude (BAA) distance, Standardized Assessment of Concussion score, and Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing composite scores. RESULTS BOX score was not significantly associated with symptoms, Standardized Assessment of Concussion score, NPC distance, BAA distance, or any Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing composite scores. Age, concussion history, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and number of prior years playing football were not significantly associated with BOX score or NPC distance, but there was a significant association between concussion history and greater BAA distance ($beta$ = 1.60; 95% confidence interval = 0.19 to 3.01; P <.03). The BOX score cutoff of 10 resulted in a 12% false-positive rate. CONCLUSIONS Eye tracking was not significantly associated with the commonly used clinical concussion assessments. These results suggest that an objective eye tracking variable may be a valuable addition to the current concussion battery.
Jessie R. Oldham; William P. Meehan; David R. Howell
Impaired eye tracking is associated with symptom severity but not dynamic postural control in adolescents following concussion Journal Article
In: Journal of Sport and Health Science, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 138–144, 2021.
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to (1) examine the relationship between self-reported symptoms and concussion-related eye tracking impairments, and (2) compare gait performance between (a) adolescents with a concussion who have normal eye tracking, (b) adolescents with a concussion who have abnormal eye tracking, and (c) healthy controls. Methods: A total of 30 concussed participants (age: 14.4 ± 2.2 years, mean ± SD, 50% female) and 30 controls (age: 14.2 ± 2.2 years, 47% female) completed eye tracking and gait assessments. The BOX score is a metric of pupillary disconjugacy, with scores <10 classified as normal and ≥10 abnormal. Symptoms were collected using the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS), and gait speed was measured with triaxial inertial measurement units. We conducted a linear regression to examine the relationship between PCSS and BOX scores and a two-way mixed effects analysis of variance to examine the effect of group (abnormal BOX, normal BOX, and healthy control) on single- and dual-task gait speed. Results: There was a significant association between total PCSS score and BOX score in the concussion group ($beta$ = 0.16
Yumie Ono; Takahiro Niida; Yuma Shinomiya; Kenji Suzuki; Naoto Hara; Yasuhiko Azegami; Taeko Sato; Chigusa Mimori; Hideo Shimoizumi
Eye-tracker-based evaluation of saccadic deficits in young children with developmental disorders Journal Article
In: Advanced Biomedical Engineering, vol. 10, pp. 70–79, 2021.
Visually guided saccadic eye movement has been considered a promising screening tool for cognitive function because of its simple and objective nature. However, its application to young children, especially those with developmental disorders, is limited due to the lack of sustained attention required to complete the measurement using the traditional electrophysiological protocol. We have previously reported that saccades can be reliably evaluated in typically developing young children using an eye tracker, which allows non-contact measurement of eye movement with a sufficiently short preparation time. Using the eye tracker system combined with an in-house developed analysis software, we investigated the changes in saccadic behavior between typically developing children (n = 30) and children with developmental disorders (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] and autism spectrum disorder [ASD]
Ascensión Pagán; Hazel I. Blythe; Simon P. Liversedge
The influence of children's reading ability on initial letter position encoding during a reading-like task Journal Article
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, vol. 47, no. 7, pp. 1186–1203, 2021.
Previous studies exploring the cost of reading sentences with words that have two transposed letters in adults showed that initial letter transpositions caused the most disruption to reading, indicating the important role that initial letters play in lexical identification (e.g., Rayner et al., 2006). Regarding children, it is not clear whether differences in reading ability would affect how they encode letter position information as they attempt to identify misspelled words in a reading-like task. The aim of this experiment was to explore how initial-letter position information is encoded by children compared to adults when reading misspelled words, containing transpositions, during a reading-like task. Four different conditions were used: control (words were correctly spelled), TL12 (letters in first and second positions were transposed), TL13 (letters in first and third positions were transposed), and TL23 (letters in second and third positions were transposed). Results showed that TL13 condition caused the most disruption, whereas TL23 caused the least disruption to reading of misspelled words. Although disruption for the TL13 condition was quite rapid in adults, the immediacy of disruption was less so for the TL23 and TL12 conditions. For children, effects of transposition also occurred quite rapidly but were longer lasting. The time course was particularly extended for the less skilled relative to the more skilled child readers. This pattern of effects suggests that both adults and children with higher, relative to lower,reading ability encode internal letter position information more flexibly to identify misspelled words,with transposed letters, during a reading-like task.
Jinger Pan; Miaomiao Liu; Hong Li; Ming Yan
Chinese children benefit from alternating-color words in sentence reading Journal Article
In: Reading and Writing, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 355–369, 2021.
Word boundary information is not marked explicitly in Chinese sentences and word ambiguity happens in Chinese texts. This introduces difficulty to parse characters into words when reading Chinese sentences, especially for beginning readers. In an eye-tracking study, we tested whether explicit word boundary information as provided by alternating text-colors affects reading performance of Chinese children and how such an effect is influenced by individual differences in word segmentation ability. Results showed that across a number of eye-movement measures, grade three children overall benefited from explicit marking of word boundary. Additionally, children with highest word segmentation ability showed the largest benefits in reading speed. We discuss possible implications for education.
Olga Parshina; Anna K. Laurinavichyute; Irina A. Sekerina
Eye-movement benchmarks in Heritage Language reading Journal Article
In: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 69–82, 2021.
This eye-tracking study establishes basic benchmarks of eye movements during reading in heritage language (HL) by Russian-speaking adults and adolescents of high (n = 21) and low proficiency (n = 27). Heritage speakers (HSs) read sentences in Cyrillic, and their eye movements were compared to those of Russian monolingual skilled adult readers, 8-year-old children and L2 learners. Reading patterns of HSs revealed longer mean fixation durations, lower skipping probabilities, and higher regressive saccade rates than in monolingual adults. High-proficient HSs were more similar to monolingual children, while low-proficient HSs performed on par with L2 learners. Low-proficient HSs differed from high-proficient HSs in exhibiting lower skipping probabilities, higher fixation counts, and larger frequency effects. Taken together, our findings are consistent with the weaker links account of bilingual language processing as well as the divergent attainment theory of HL.
Yujia Peng; Hongjing Lu; Scott P. Johnson
Infant perception of causal motion produced by humans and inanimate objects Journal Article
In: Infant Behavior and Development, vol. 64, pp. 101615, 2021.
Both the movements of people and inanimate objects are intimately bound up with physical causality. Furthermore, in contrast to object movements, causal relationships between limb movements controlled by humans and their body displacements uniquely reflect agency and goal-directed actions in support of social causality. To investigate the development of sensitivity to causal movements, we examined the looking behavior of infants between 9 and 18 months of age when viewing movements of humans and objects. We also investigated whether individual differences in gender and gross motor functions may impact the development of the visual preferences for causal movements. In Experiment 1, infants were presented with walking stimuli showing either normal body translation or a “moonwalk” that reversed the horizontal motion of body translations. In Experiment 2, infants were presented with unperformable actions beyond infants' gross motor functions (i.e., long jump) either with or without ecologically valid body displacement. In Experiment 3, infants were presented with rolling movements of inanimate objects that either complied with or violated physical causality. We found that female infants showed longer looking times to normal walking stimuli than to moonwalk stimuli, but did not differ in their looking time to movements of inanimate objects and unperformable actions. In contrast, male infants did not show sensitivity to causal movement for either category. Additionally, female infants looked longer at social stimuli of human actions than male infants. Under the tested circumstances, our findings indicate that female infants have developed a sensitivity to causal consistency between limb movements and body translations of biological motion, only for actions with previous visual and motor exposures, and demonstrate a preference toward social information.
Ryan E. Peters; Justin B. Kueser; Arielle Borovsky
Perceptual connectivity influences toddlers' attention to known objects and subsequent label processing Journal Article
In: Brain Sciences, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 163, 2021.
While recent research suggests that toddlers tend to learn word meanings with many “perceptual” features that are accessible to the toddler's sensory perception, it is not clear whether and how building a lexicon with perceptual connectivity supports attention to and recognition of word meanings. We explore this question in 24–30-month-olds (N = 60) in relation to other individual differences, including age, vocabulary size, and tendencies to maintain focused attention. Participants' looking to item pairs with high vs. low perceptual connectivity—defined as the number of words in a child's lexicon sharing perceptual features with the item—was measured before and after target item labeling. Results revealed pre-labeling attention to known items is biased to both high-and low-connectivity items: first to high, and second, but more robustly, to low-connectivity items. Subsequent object–label processing was also facilitated for high-connectivity items, particularly for children with temperamental tendencies to maintain focused attention. This work provides the first empirical evidence that patterns of shared perceptual features within children's known vocabularies influence both visual and lexical processing, highlighting the potential for a newfound set of developmental dependencies based on the perceptual/sensory structure of early vocabularies.
Megan Polden; Trevor J. Crawford
Active visual inhibition is preserved in the presence of a distracter: A cross-cultural, ageing and dementia study Journal Article
In: Cortex, vol. 142, pp. 169–185, 2021.
The current study investigated a novel visual distracter task as a potential diagnostic marker for the detection of cognitive impairment and the extent to which this compares in healthy ageing across two cultures. The Inhibition of a Recent Distracter Effect (IRD) refers to the inhibition of a saccadic eye movement towards a target that is presented at the location of a previous distracter. Two studies compared the IRD across a large cross-cultural sample comprising of young (N = 75), old European participants (N = 119), old south Asian participants (N = 83), participants with Dementia due to Alzheimer's disease (N = 65) and Mild cognitive impairment (N = 91). Significantly longer saccadic reaction times on the target to distracter trials, in comparison to the target to target trials were evident in all groups and age cohorts. Importantly, the IRD was also preserved in participants with Alzheimer's Disease and mild cognitive impairment demonstrating that the IRD is robust across cultures, age groups and clinical populations. Eye-tracking is increasingly used as a dual diagnostic and experimental probe for the investigation of cognitive control in Alzheimer's disease. As a promising methodology for the early diagnosis of dementia, it is important to understand the cognitive operations in relation to eye-tracking that are well preserved as well as those that are abnormal. Paradigms should also be validated across ethnicity/culture, clinical groups and age cohorts.
Jonathan E. Prunty; Jolie R. Keemink; David J. Kelly
Infants scan static and dynamic facial expressions differently Journal Article
In: Infancy, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 831–856, 2021.
Despite being inherently dynamic phenomena, much of our understanding of how infants attend and scan facial expressions is based on static face stimuli. Here we investigate how six-, nine-, and twelve-month infants allocate their visual attention toward dynamic-interactive videos of the six basic emotional expressions, and compare their responses with static images of the same stimuli. We find infants show clear differences in how they attend and scan dynamic and static expressions, looking longer toward the dynamic-face and lower-face regions. Infants across all age groups show differential interest in expressions, and show precise scanning of regions “diagnostic” for emotion recognition. These data also indicate that infants' attention toward dynamic expressions develops over the first year of life, including relative increases in interest and scanning precision toward some negative facial expressions (e.g., anger, fear, and disgust).
Eva Rafetseder; Sarah Schuster; Stefan Hawelka; Martin Doherty; Britt Anderson; James Danckert; Elisabeth Stöttinger
Children struggle beyond preschool-age in a continuous version of the ambiguous figures task Journal Article
In: Psychological Research, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 828–841, 2021.
Children until the age of five are only able to reverse an ambiguous figure when they are informed about the second interpretation. In two experiments, we examined whether children's difficulties would extend to a continuous version of the ambiguous figures task. Children (Experiment 1: 66 3- to 5-year olds; Experiment 2: 54 4- to 9-year olds) and adult controls saw line drawings of animals gradually morph—through well-known ambiguous figures—into other animals. Results show a relatively late developing ability to recognize the target animal, with difficulties extending beyond preschool-age. This delay can neither be explained with improvements in theory of mind, inhibitory control, nor individual differences in eye movements. Even the best achieving children only started to approach adult level performance at the age of 9, suggesting a fundamentally different processing style in children and adults.
Hanane Ramzaoui; Sylvane Faure; Sara Spotorno
Top-down and bottom-up guidance in normal aging during scene search Journal Article
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 433–451, 2021.
Age-related differences in visual search have been extensively studied using simple item arrays, showing an attentional decline. Little is known about how aging affects attentional guidance during search in more complex scenes. To study this issue, we analyzed eye-movement behavior in realistic scene search. We examined age-related differences in top-down guidance, manipulating target template specificity (picture vs. word cue) and target-scene semantic consistency (consistent vs. inconsistent), and in bottom-up guidance, manipulating perceptual salience (high vs. low) of targets and distractors. Compared to young adults (YA), older adults (OA) were overall slower, from the first saccade in the scene. They showed a smaller benefit of a specific target template, suggesting that precision of visual information in working memory may decrease with age. The benefit of semantic consistency did not depend on age, suggesting a preserved ability in OA to use knowledge about object occurrence in scenes. OA showed greater bottom-up search facilitation due to target's high salience, which may depend on reduced selection of low-salience stimuli. Attentional capture by distractors was greater in OA than YA, with respect to engagement (probability of distractor fixation), but only following a picture cue, and disengagement (fixation duration on distractors) in all conditions. Overall, our study shows that age-related differences in visual selection of targets and distractors depend on specific task demands in terms of top-down and bottom-up guidance. It also indicates that scene search difficulties in OA can be limited by cognitive and perceptual forms of environmental support. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)
Tracy Reuter; Kavindya Dalawella; Casey Lew-williams
Adults and children predict in complex and variable referential contexts Journal Article
In: Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 474–490, 2021.
Prior research suggests that prediction supports language processing and learning. However, the ecological validity of such findings is unclear because experiments usually include constrained stimuli. While theoretically suggestive, previous conclusions will be largely irrelevant if listeners cannot generate predictions in response to complex and variable perceptual input. Taking a step toward addressing this limitation, three eye-tracking experiments evaluated how adults (N = 72) and 4- and 5-year-old children (N = 72) generated predictions in contexts with complex visual stimuli (Experiment 1), variable speech stimuli (Experiment 2), and both concurrently (Experiment 3). Results indicated that listeners generated predictions in contexts with complex visual stimuli or variable speech stimuli. When both were more naturalistic, listeners used informative verbs to generate predictions, but not adjectives or number markings. This investigation provides a test for theories claiming that prediction is a central learning mechanism, and calls for further evaluations of prediction in naturalistic settings.
Vibeke Rønneberg; Mark Torrance; Per Henning; Uppstad Christer
The process‑disruption hypothesis: How spelling and typing skill affects written composition process and product Journal Article
In: Psychological Research, pp. 1–17, 2021.
This study investigates the possibility that lack of fluency in spelling and/or typing disrupts writing processes in such a way as to cause damage to the substance (content and structure) of the resulting text. 101 children (mean age 11 years 10 months), writing in a relatively shallow orthography (Norwegian), composed argumentative essays using a simple text editor that provided accurate timing for each keystroke. Production fluency was assessed in terms of both within-word and word-initial interkey intervals and pause counts. We also assessed the substantive quality of completed texts. Students also performed tasks in which we recorded time to pressing keyboard keys in response to spoken letter names (a keyboard knowledge meas- ure), response time and interkey intervals when spelling single, spoken words (spelling fluency), and interkey intervals when typing a simple sentence from memory (transcription fluency). Analysis by piecewise structural equation modelling gave clear evidence that all three of these measures predict fluency when composing full text. Students with longer mid-word interkey intervals when composing full text tended to produce texts with slightly weaker theme development. However, we found no other effects of composition fluency measures on measures of the substantive quality of the completed text. Our findings did not, therefore, provide support for the process-disruption hypothesis, at least in the context of upper-primary students writing in a shallow orthography.
Rany Abend; Mira A. Bajaj; Chika Matsumoto; Marissa Yetter; Anita Harrewijn; Elise M. Cardinale; Katharina Kircanski; Eli R. Lebowitz; Wendy K. Silverman; Yair Bar-Haim; Amit Lazarov; Ellen Leibenluft; Melissa Brotman; Daniel S. Pine
Converging multi-modal evidence for implicit threat-related bias in pediatric anxiety disorders Journal Article
In: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, vol. 9, pp. 227–240, 2021.
This report examines the relationship between pediatric anxiety disorders and implicit bias evoked by threats. To do so, the report uses two tasks that assess implicit bias to negative-valence faces, the first by eye-gaze and the second by measuring body-movement parameters. The report contrasts task performance in 51 treatment-seeking, medication-free pediatric patients with anxiety disorders and 36 healthy peers. Among these youth, 53 completed an eye-gaze task, 74 completed a body-movement task, and 40 completed both tasks. On the eye-gaze task, patients displayed longer gaze duration on negative relative to non-negative valence faces than healthy peers, F(1, 174) = 8.27
Alia Afyouni; Franziska Geringswald; Bruno Nazarian; Marie-Hélène Grosbras
Brain activity during antisaccades to faces in adolescence Journal Article
In: Cerebral Cortex Communications, vol. 2, pp. 1–14, 2021.
Cognitive control and social perception both change during adolescence, but little is known of the interaction of these 2 processes. We aimed to characterize developmental changes in brain activity related to the influence of a social stimulus on cognitive control and more specifically on inhibitory control. Children (age 8–11
Evin Aktar; Cosima A. Nimphy; Mariska E. Kret; Koraly Pérez-Edgar; Susan M. Bögels; Maartje E. J. Raijmakers
Pupil responses to dynamic negative facial expressions of emotion in infants and parents Journal Article
In: Developmental Psychobiology, vol. 63, no. 7, pp. 1–17, 2021.
Observing others' emotions triggers physiological arousal in infants as well as in adults, reflected in dilated pupil sizes. This study is the first to examine parents' and infants' pupil responses to dynamic negative emotional facial expressions. Moreover, the links between pupil responses and negative emotional dispositions were explored among infants and parents. Infants' and one of their parent's pupil responses to negative versus neutral faces were measured via eye tracking in 222 infants (5- to 7-month-olds
Inbar Avni; Gal Meiri; Analya Michaelovski; Idan Menashe; Lior Shmuelof; Ilan Dinstein
Basic oculomotor function is similar in young children with ASD and typically developing controls Journal Article
In: Autism Research, vol. 14, no. 12, pp. 2580–2591, 2021.
A variety of eye tracking studies have demonstrated that young children with ASD gaze at images and movies of social interactions differently than typically developing children. These findings have supported the hypothesis that gaze behavior differences are generated by a weaker preference for social stimuli in ASD children. The hypothesis assumes that gaze differences are not caused by abnormalities in oculomotor function including saccade frequency and kinematics. Previous studies of oculomotor function have mostly been performed with school-age children, adolescents, and adults using visual search, anti-saccade, and gap saccade tasks that are less suitable for young pre-school children. Here, we examined oculomotor function in 144 children (90 with ASD and 54 controls), 1–10-years-old, as they watched two animated movies interleaved with the presentation of multiple salient stimuli that elicited saccades-to-targets. The results revealed that the number of fixations, fixation duration, number of saccades, saccade duration, saccade accuracy, and saccade latency did not differ significantly across groups. Minor initial differences in saccade peak velocity were not supported by analysis with a linear mixed model. These findings suggest that most children with ASD exhibit similar oculomotor function to that of controls, when performing saccades-to-targets or freely viewing child-friendly movies. This suggests that previously reported gaze abnormalities in children with ASD are not due to underlying oculomotor deficiencies. Lay Summary: This study demonstrates that children with ASD perform similar eye movements to those of controls when freely observing movies or making eye movements to targets. Similar results were apparent across groups in the number of eye movements, their accuracy, duration, and other measures that assess eye movement control. These findings are important for interpreting previously reported differences in gaze behavior of children with ASD, which are likely due to atypical social preferences rather than impaired control of eye movements.
Nicolai D. Ayasse; Alana J. Hodson; Arthur Wingfield
The principle of least effort and comprehension of spoken sentences by younger and older adults Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 629464, 2021.
There is considerable evidence that listeners' understanding of a spoken sentence need not always follow from a full analysis of the words and syntax of the utterance. Rather, listeners may instead conduct a superficial analysis, sampling some words and using presumed plausibility to arrive at an understanding of the sentence meaning. Because this latter strategy occurs more often for sentences with complex syntax that place a heavier processing burden on the listener than sentences with simpler syntax, shallow processing may represent a resource conserving strategy reflected in reduced processing effort. This factor may be even more important for older adults who as a group are known to have more limited working memory resources. In the present experiment, 40 older adults (Mage = 75.5 years) and 20 younger adults (Mage = 20.7) were tested for comprehension of plausible and implausible sentences with a simpler subject-relative embedded clause structure or a more complex object-relative embedded clause structure. Dilation of the pupil of the eye was recorded as an index of processing effort. Results confirmed greater comprehension accuracy for plausible than implausible sentences, and for sentences with simpler than more complex syntax, with both effects amplified for the older adults. Analysis of peak pupil dilations for implausible sentences revealed a complex three-way interaction between age, syntactic complexity, and plausibility. Results are discussed in terms of models of sentence comprehension, and pupillometry as an index of intentional task engagement.
Mireille Babineau; Alex Carvalho; John Trueswell; Anne Christophe
Familiar words can serve as a semantic seed for syntactic bootstrapping Journal Article
In: Developmental Science, vol. 24, pp. e13010, 2021.
Young children can exploit the syntactic context of a novel word to narrow down its probable meaning. But how do they learn which contexts are linked to which semantic features in the first place? We investigate if 3- to 4-year-old children (n = 60) can learn about a syntactic context from tracking its use with only a few familiar words. After watching a 5-min training video in which a novel function word (i.e., ‘ko') replaced either personal pronouns or articles, children were able to infer semantic properties for novel words co-occurring with the newly learned function word (i.e., objects vs. actions). These findings implicate a mechanism by which a distributional analysis, associated with a small vocabulary of known words, could be sufficient to identify some properties associated with specific syntactic contexts.
Shlomit Beker; John J. Foxe; Sophie Molholm
Oscillatory entrainment mechanisms and anticipatory predictive processes in children with autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 126, no. 5, pp. 1783–1798, 2021.
Anticipating near-future events is fundamental to adaptive behavior, whereby neural processing of predictable stimuli is significantly facilitated relative to nonpredictable events. Neural oscillations appear to be a key anticipatory mechanism by which processing of upcoming stimuli is modified, and they often entrain to rhythmic environmental sequences. Clinical and anecdotal observations have led to the hypothesis that people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have deficits in generating predictions, and as such, a candidate neural mechanism may be failure to adequately entrain neural activity to repetitive environmental patterns, to facilitate temporal predictions. We tested this hypothesis by interrogating temporal predictions and rhythmic entrainment using behavioral and electrophysiological approaches. We recorded high-density electroencephalography in children with ASD and typically developing (TD) age- and IQ-matched controls, while they reacted to an auditory target as quickly as possible. This auditory event was either preceded by predictive rhythmic visual cues or was not preceded by any cue. Both ASD and control groups presented comparable behavioral facilitation in response to the Cue versus No-Cue condition, challenging the hypothesis that children with ASD have deficits in generating temporal predictions. Analyses of the electrophysiological data, in contrast, revealed significantly reduced neural entrainment to the visual cues and altered anticipatory processes in the ASD group. This was the case despite intact stimulus-evoked visual responses. These results support intact behavioral temporal prediction in response to a cue in ASD, in the face of altered neural entrainment and anticipatory processes.
Christina Blomquist; Rochelle S. Newman; Yi Ting Huang; Jan Edwards
Children with cochlear implants use semantic prediction to facilitate spoken word recognition Journal Article
In: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vol. 64, no. 5, pp. 1636–1649, 2021.
Purpose: Children with cochlear implants (CIs) are more likely to struggle with spoken language than their age-matched peers with normal hearing (NH), and new language processing literature suggests that these challenges may be linked to delays in spoken word recognition. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether children with CIs use language knowledge via semantic prediction to facilitate recognition of upcoming words and help compensate for uncertainties in the acoustic signal. Method: Five-to 10-year-old children with CIs heard sentences with an informative verb (draws) or a neutral verb (gets) preceding a target word ( picture). The target referent was presented on a screen, along with a phonologically similar competitor ( pickle). Children's eye gaze was recorded to quantify efficiency of access of the target word and suppression of phonological competition. Performance was compared to both an age-matched group and vocabulary-matched group of children with NH. Results: Children with CIs, like their peers with NH, demonstrated use of informative verbs to look more quickly to the target word and look less to the phonological competitor. However, children with CIs demonstrated less efficient use of semantic cues relative to their peers with NH, even when matched for vocabulary ability. Conclusions: Children with CIs use semantic prediction to facilitate spoken word recognition but do so to a lesser extent than children with NH. Children with CIs experience challenges in predictive spoken language processing above and beyond limitations from delayed vocabulary development. Children with CIs with better vocabulary ability demonstrate more efficient use of lexical-semantic cues. Clinical interventions focusing on building knowledge of words and their associations may support efficiency of spoken language processing for children with CIs.
Liam P. Blything; Juhani Järvikivi; Abigail G. Toth; Anja Arnhold
The influence of focus marking on pronoun resolution in dialogue context Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, pp. 684639, 2021.
Using visual world eye-tracking, we examined whether adults (N = 58) and children (N = 37; 3;1–6;3) use linguistic focussing devices to help resolve ambiguous pronouns. Participants listened to English dialogues about potential referents of an ambiguous pronoun he. Four conditions provided prosodic focus marking to the grammatical subject or to the object, which were either additionally it-clefted or not. A reference condition focussed neither the subject nor object. Adult online data revealed that linguistic focussing via prosodic marking enhanced subject preference, and overrode it in the case of object focus, regardless of the presence of clefts. Children's processing was also influenced by prosodic marking; however, their performance across conditions showed some differences from adults, as well as a complex interaction with both their memory and language skills. Offline interpretations showed no effects of focus in either group, suggesting that while multiple cues are processed, subjecthood and first mention dominate the final interpretation in cases of conflict.
Doris I. Braun; Alexander C. Schütz; Karl R. Gegenfurtner
Age effects on saccadic suppression of luminance and color Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 1–19, 2021.
Saccadic eye movements modulate visual perception: they initiate and terminate high acuity vision at a certain location in space, but before and during their execution visual contrast sensitivity is strongly attenuated for 100 to 200 ms. Transient perisaccadic perceptual distortions are assumed to be an important mechanism to maintain visual stability. Little is known about age effects on saccadic suppression, even though for healthy adults other major age-related changes are well documented, like a decrease of visual contrast sensitivity for intermediate and high spatial frequencies or an increase of saccade latencies. Here, we tested saccadic suppression of luminance and isoluminant chromatic flashes in 100 participants from eight to 78 years. To estimate the effect of saccadic suppression on contrast sensitivity, we used a two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) design and an adaptive staircase procedure to modulate the luminance or chromatic contrast of a flashed detection target during fixation and 15 ms after saccade onset. The target was a single horizontal luminance or chromatic line flashed 2° above or below the fixation or saccade target. Compared to fixation, average perisaccadic contrast sensitivity decreased significantly by 66% for luminance and by 36% for color. A significant correlation was found for the strength of saccadic suppression of luminance and color. However, a small age effect was found only for the strength of saccadic suppression of luminance, which increased from 64% to 70% from young to old age. We conclude that saccadic suppression for luminance and color is present in most participants independent of their age and that mechanisms of suppression stay relatively stable during healthy aging.
Jasmin Breitwieser; Garvin Brod
Cognitive prerequisites for generative learning: Why some learning strategies are more effective than others Journal Article
In: Child Development, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 1–15, 2021.
This study examined age-related differences in the effectiveness of two generative learning strategies (GLSs). Twenty-five children aged 9–11 and 25 university students aged 17–29 performed a facts learning task in which they had to generate either a prediction or an example before seeing the correct result. We found a significant Age × Learning Strategy interaction, with children remembering more facts after generating predictions rather than examples, whereas both strategies were similarly effective in adults. Pupillary data indicated that predictions stimulated surprise, whereas the effectiveness of example-based learning correlated with children's analogical reasoning abilities. These findings suggest that there are different cognitive prerequisites for different GLSs, which results in varying degrees of strategy effectiveness by age.
Christina Buhl; Anca Sfärlea; Johanna Loechner; Kornelija Starman-Wöhrle; Elske Salemink; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Belinda Platt
Biased maintenance of attention on sad faces in Clinically depressed youth: An eye-tracking study Journal Article
In: Child Psychiatry and Human Development, pp. 1–13, 2021.
The role of negative attention biases (AB), central to cognitive models of adult depression, is yet unclear in youth depression. We investigated negative AB in depressed compared to healthy youth and tested whether AB are more pronounced in depressed than at-risk youth. Negative AB was assessed for sad and angry faces with an eye-tracking paradigm [Passive Viewing Task (PVT)] and a behavioural task [Visual Search Task (VST)], comparing three groups of 9–14-year-olds: youth with major depression (MD; n = 32), youth with depressed parents (high-risk; HR; n = 49) and youth with healthy parents (low-risk; LR; n = 42). The PVT revealed MD participants to maintain attention longer on sad faces compared to HR, but not LR participants. This AB correlated positively with depressive symptoms. The VST revealed no group differences. Our results provide preliminary evidence for a negative AB in maintenance of attention on disorder-specific emotional information in depressed compared to at-risk youth.
Rudolf Burggraaf; Jos N. Geest; Ignace T. C. Hooge; Maarten A. Frens
Developmental changes in visual search are determined by changing visuospatial abilities and task repetition: A longitudinal study in adolescents Journal Article
In: Applied Neuropsychology: Child, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 133–143, 2021.
Using a longitudinal study design, a group of 94 adolescents participated in a visual search task and a visuospatial ability task yearly for four consecutive years. We analyzed the association between changes in visuospatial ability and changes in visual search performance and behavior and estimated additional effects of age and task repetition. Visuospatial ability was measured with the Design Organization Test (DOT). Search performance was analyzed in terms of reaction time and response accuracy. Search behavior was analyzed in terms of the number of fixations per trial, the saccade amplitude, and the distribution of fixations over different types of elements. We found that both the increase in age and the yearly repetition of the DOT had a positive effect on visuospatial ability. We show that the acceleration of visual search during childhood can be explained by the increase in visuospatial abilities with age during adolescence. With the yearly task repetition, visual search became faster and more accurate, while fewer fixations were made with larger saccade amplitudes. The combination of increasing visuospatial ability and task repetition makes visual search more effective and might increase the performance of many daily tasks during adolescence.
Annika Bürsgens; Jürgen Cholewa; Axel Mayer; Thomas Günther
Gender dissimilarity between subject and object facilitates online-comprehension of agent–patient–relations in German: An eye-tracking study with 6- to 10-year-old monolingual children Journal Article
In: Lingua, vol. 259, pp. 103110, 2021.
In this eye-tracking study, we examined whether gender dissimilarity between the case-marked subject and object noun phrases in a subject-verb-object (SVO) or object-verb-subject sentence (OVS) was used to predict thematic roles (agent and patient) and facilitate the grammatical analyses needed for thematic role assignment. Forty-two German-speaking 6- to 10-year-old children looked at two drawings depicting an action between two figures while listening to a sentence. One drawing matched the sentence, but the other showed the figures' thematic roles reversed. For half of the sentences, each figure's thematic role could be predicted shortly after stimulus onset from the gender of the first word (an article) due to gender dissimilarity between the subject and the object. For the other sentences, children had to wait at least until they heard the first noun of the sentence. Our results confirmed that the children shifted their looks earlier and more confidently to the target in SVO sentences with gender-dissimilar noun phrases. Results for OVS sentences were not so clear-cut: a sentence-final facilitation effect of gender dissimilarity was only visible subsequently when agent and patient were analyzed separately. Our findings are discussed with respect to different approaches to the role of gender processing in sentence comprehension.
Elise M. Cardinale; Reut Naim; Simone P. Haller; Ramaris German; Christian Botz-Zapp; Jessica Bezek; David C. Jangraw; Melissa A. Brotman
Rationale and validation of a novel mobile application probing motor inhibition: Proof of concept of CALM-IT Journal Article
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. e0252245, 2021.
Identification of behavioral mechanisms underlying psychopathology is essential for the development of novel targeted therapeutics. However, this work relies on rigorous, timeintensive, clinic-based laboratory research, making it difficult to translate research paradigms into tools that can be used by clinicians in the community. The broad adoption of smartphone technology provides a promising opportunity to bridge the gap between the mechanisms identified in the laboratory and the clinical interventions targeting them in the community. The goal of the current study is to develop a developmentally appropriate, engaging, novel mobile application called CALM-IT that probes a narrow biologically informed process, inhibitory control. We aim to leverage the rigorous and robust methods traditionally used in laboratory settings to validate this novel mechanism-driven but easily disseminatable tool that can be used by clinicians to probe inhibitory control in the community. The development of CALM-IT has significant implications for the ability to screen for inhibitory control deficits in the community by both clinicians and researchers. By facilitating assessment of inhibitory control outside of the laboratory setting, researchers could have access to larger and more diverse samples. Additionally, in the clinical setting, CALM-IT represents a novel clinical screening measure that could be used to determine personalized courses of treatment based on the presence of inhibitory control deficits.
Luna C. Muñoz Centifanti; Timothy R. Stickle; Jamila Thomas; Amanda Falcón; Nicholas D. Thomson; Matthias Gamer
Reflexive gaze shifts and fear recognition deficits in children with callous-unemotional traits and impulsivity/conduct problems Journal Article
In: Brain Sciences, vol. 11, pp. 1–26, 2021.
The ability to efficiently recognize the emotions on others' faces is something that most of us take for granted. Children with callous-unemotional (CU) traits and impulsivity/conduct problems (ICP), such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, have been previously described as being “fear blind”. This is also associated with looking less at the eye regions of fearful faces, which are highly diagnostic. Previous attempts to intervene into emotion recognition strategies have not had lasting effects on participants' fear recognition abilities. Here we present both (a) additional evidence that there is a two-part causal chain, from personality traits to face recognition strategies using the eyes, then from strategies to rates of recognizing fear in others; and (b) a pilot intervention that had persistent effects for weeks after the end of instruction. Further, the intervention led to more change in those with the highest CU traits. This both clarifies the specific mechanisms linking personality to emotion recognition and shows that the process is fundamentally malleable. It is possible that such training could promote empathy and reduce the rates of antisocial behavior in specific populations in the future.
Melinda Y. Chang; Mark S. Borchert
Validity and reliability of eye tracking for visual acuity assessment in children with cortical visual impairment Journal Article
In: Journal of AAPOS, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 334.e1–334.e5, 2021.
Background: Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is the leading cause of pediatric visual impairment in developed countries, but there is currently no evidence-based treatment. A method of visual assessment that captures multiple domains of visual functioning may facilitate evaluation of proposed therapies. We have developed an eye-tracking protocol that evaluates afferent, efferent, and higher-order visual parameters in children with CVI. We report its validity and reliability in assessing visual acuity. Methods: We recruited 16 children with CVI between the ages of 12 months and 12 years. Visual acuity was assessed clinically using a previously published six-level scale of visual behavior. Grating acuity was assessed by eye tracking using forced-choice preferential looking, which was performed at baseline and 1 month for reliability testing. Validity was assessed by correlating clinical acuity with grating acuity by eye tracking. Results: Clinical visual acuity ranged from 3 to 6 on the six-level scale, and grating acuity ranged from 0.25 to 20 cycles per degree (logMAR 0.18-2.08). There was strong correlation between grating acuity by eye tracking and clinical acuity assessment ($rho$ = −0.82; P = 0.0002). Test–retest reliability was excellent, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.96 (95% CI, 0.88-0.99). Conclusions: Eye tracking demonstrates excellent reliability for visual acuity assessment and high correlation with clinical assessment of visual acuity in pediatric CVI. Future research is necessary to determine whether eye tracking can assess other visual and oculomotor parameters in children with CVI, a prerequisite for incorporating this technique into future clinical trials and patient care.
Spyridoula Cheimariou; Thomas A. Farmer; Jean K. Gordon
The effects of age and verbal ability on word predictability in reading Journal Article
In: Psychology and Aging, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 531–542, 2021.
Increased predictability effects in older compared to younger adults have been mostly observed in late eye-movement measures during reading. However, it is unclear whether and how these effects may be related to verbal ability, which typically improves with age. Past studies have shown that verbal abilities modulate the predictability effect. Here, we aimed to replicate predictability effects in younger and older adults in a sentence reading paradigm and to investigate how verbal ability modulates the predictability effect. We monitored 26 younger and 27 older adults' eye movements as they read sentences with target words varying in predictability and examined the impact of age and verbal ability, as reflected in vocabulary and print exposure measures. Replicating previous studies, we found that older adults relied more heavily on contextual information in their anticipation of upcoming input in one late measure. In one early measure (first-fixation duration), participants with higher scores in verbal ability showed greater predictability effects, whereas the predictability effect was virtually absent in those with low scores. In one late measure (regression-path duration), age interacted with predictability. However, verbal ability, when included as a covariate in this model, could not account for the age-related increases in predictability effects. Collectively, our findings indicate that verbal ability influences predictability effects in early processing stages, suggesting facilitation of initial word processing and that some aspect of aging other than verbal ability influences predictability effects in late measures. The latter finding most likely reflects a shift toward integrative controlled processes with age. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)
Lyndsey J. Chong; Alexandria Meyer
Psychometric properties of threat-related attentional bias in young children using eye-tracking Journal Article
In: Developmental Psychobiology, vol. 63, pp. 1120–1131, 2021.
Anxiety is one of the most common forms of child psychopathology associated with persistent impairment across the lifespan. Therefore, investigating mechanisms that underlie anxiety in early childhood may improve prevention and intervention efforts. Researchers have linked selective attention toward threat (i.e., attentional bias to threat) with the development of anxiety. However, previous work on attentional bias has used less reliable, reaction time (RT)-based measures of attention. Additionally, few studies have used eye-tracking to measure attentional bias in young children. In the present study, we investigated the psychometric properties of an eye-tracking measure of attentional bias in a sample of young children between 6- and 9-years-old and explored if trait and clinical anxiety were related to attentional biases to threat. Results showed good psychometric properties for threat and neutral attentional biases, comparable to those found in adult eye-tracking studies. Temperamental and clinical anxiety did not significantly relate to threat/neutral dwell time and attentional biases. The significance of these null findings was discussed in relation to existing developmental theories of attentional biases. Future studies should explore if temperamental or clinical anxiety prospectively predict threat attentional bias and the onset of anxiety in older children using a longitudinal design.
Christoforos Christoforou; Argyro Fella; Paavo H. T. Leppänen; George K. Georgiou; Timothy C. Papadopoulos
Fixation-related potentials in naming speed: A combined EEG and eye-tracking study on children with dyslexia Journal Article
In: Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 132, no. 11, pp. 2798–2807, 2021.
Objective: We combined electroencephalography (EEG) and eye-tracking recordings to examine the underlying factors elicited during the serial Rapid-Automatized Naming (RAN) task that may differentiate between children with dyslexia (DYS) and chronological age controls (CAC). Methods: Thirty children with DYS and 30 CAC (Mage = 9.79 years; age range 7.6 through 12.1 years) performed a set of serial RAN tasks. We extracted fixation-related potentials (FRPs) under phonologically similar (rime-confound) or visually similar (resembling lowercase letters) and dissimilar (non-confounding and discrete uppercase letters, respectively) control tasks. Results: Results revealed significant differences in FRP amplitudes between DYS and CAC groups under the phonologically similar and phonologically non-confounding conditions. No differences were observed in the case of the visual conditions. Moreover, regression analysis showed that the average amplitude of the extracted components significantly predicted RAN performance. Conclusion: FRPs capture neural components during the serial RAN task informative of differences between DYS and CAC and establish a relationship between neurocognitive processes during serial RAN and dyslexia. Significance: We suggest our approach as a methodological model for the concurrent analysis of neurophysiological and eye-gaze data to decipher the role of RAN in reading.
Annabell Coors; Natascha Merten; David D. Ward; Matthias Schmid; Monique M. B. Breteler; Ulrich Ettinger
Strong age but weak sex effects in eye movement performance in the general adult population: Evidence from the Rhineland Study Journal Article
In: Vision Research, vol. 178, pp. 124–133, 2021.
Assessing physiological changes that occur with healthy ageing is prerequisite for understanding pathophysiological age-related changes. Eye movements are studied as biomarkers for pathological changes because they are altered in patients with neurodegenerative disorders. However, there is a lack of data from large samples assessing age-related physiological changes and sex differences in oculomotor performance. Thus, we assessed and quantified cross-sectional relations of age and sex with oculomotor performance in the general population. We report results from the first 4,000 participants (aged 30–95 years) of the Rhineland Study, a community-based prospective cohort study in Bonn, Germany. Participants completed fixation, smooth pursuit, prosaccade and antisaccade tasks. We quantified associations of age and sex with oculomotor outcomes using multivariable linear regression models. Performance in 12 out of 18 oculomotor measures declined with increasing age. No differences between age groups were observed in five antisaccade outcomes (amplitude-adjusted and unadjusted peak velocity, amplitude gain, spatial error and percentage of corrected errors) and for blink rate during fixation. Small sex differences occurred in smooth pursuit velocity gain (men have higher gain) and blink rate during fixation (men blink less). We conclude that performance declines with age in two thirds of oculomotor outcomes but that there was no evidence of sex differences in eye movement performance except for two outcomes. Since the percentage of corrected antisaccade errors was not associated with age but is known to be affected by pathological cognitive decline, it represents a promising candidate preclinical biomarker of neurodegeneration.
Bing Dai; Kwang Meng Cham; Larry Allen Abel
Velocity discrimination in infantile nystagmus syndrome Journal Article
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 62, no. 10, pp. 35, 2021.
PURPOSE. Research on infantile nystagmus syndrome (INS) and velocity discrimination is limited, and no research has examined velocity discrimination in subjects with INS at their null position and away from it. This study aims to investigate how individuals with INS perform, compared with controls, when carrying out velocity discrimination tasks. Particularly, the study aims to assess how the null position affects their performance. METHODS. INS subjects (N = 21, mean age 24 years; age range, 15–34 years) and controls (N = 16, mean age 26 years; age range, 22–39 years) performed horizontal and vertical velocity discrimination tasks at two gaze positions. Eighteen INS subjects were classified as idiopathic INS and three had associated visual disorders (two had oculocutaneous albinism, and one had congenital cataract). For INS subjects, testing was done at the null position and 15° away from it. If there was no null, testing was done at primary gaze position and 15° away from primary. For controls, testing was done at primary gaze position and 20° away from primary. Horizontal and vertical velocity discrimination thresholds were determined and analyzed. RESULTS. INS subjects showed significantly higher horizontal and vertical velocity discrimination thresholds compared with controls at both gaze positions (P < 0.001). Horizontal thresholds for INS subjects were elevated more than vertical thresholds (P < 0.0001) for INS subjects but not for controls. Within the INS group, 12 INS subjects who had an identified null position showed significantly lower horizontal and vertical thresholds at the null than at 15° away from it (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS. Velocity discrimination was impaired in INS subjects, with better performance at the null. These findings could assist in understanding how INS affects the daily activities of patients in tasks involving moving objects, and aid in developing new clinical visual function assessments for INS.