Temporal entrainment of visual attention in children: Effects of age and deafness

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The major documented effect of auditory deprivation on visual processing is enhanced spatial attention, in particular to the visual periphery and to moving stimuli. However, there is a parallel literature that has reported deficits in temporal aspects of visual processing in individuals with profound hearing losses. This study builds upon previous work showing possible deficits in processing of rapid serial visual presentation streams in deaf children [Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience (2010), 28, 181-192]. Deaf native signers of American Sign Language and hearing children and adults were asked to perform a 2-AFC identification task with a visual target embedded in a stream of visual stimuli presented at 6. Hz. Both children and adults displayed attentional awakening, whereby target identification accuracy improved as the number of stimuli preceding the target increased. For deaf children, however, this awakening effect was less pronounced than that observed in hearing children, interpreted as difficulty sustaining entrainment to the stimulus stream. The data provide the first account of attentional awakening in children, showing that it improves across the 6-13. year age range. They also provide additional support to the possibility of domain-general alterations in the processing of temporal information in the absence of auditory input.




Dye, M. W. G. (2014). Temporal entrainment of visual attention in children: Effects of age and deafness. Vision Research, 105, 29–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2014.09.001

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