Judge J, Knox P C, Caravolas M, 2003, "Distribution of visual attention: Evidence against impaired processing in developmental dyslexia on a simple cueing task" Perception 32 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Distribution of visual attention: Evidence against impaired processing in developmental dyslexia on a simple cueing task
J Judge, P C Knox, M Caravolas
We investigated the distribution of visual attention in dyslexic adults using the cueing task of Facoetti and Molteni (2001 Neuropsychologia 39 352 - 357). Nine dyslexic adults and eleven controls, matched for age and performance IQ, completed a battery of literacy/phonological tests. Attention was measured in a target-detection task by recording manual reaction time (MRT) in response to targets presented on a visual display. A cue circle (radius 4.5 deg) appeared concentrically to the central fixation point. After a variable SOA (150 - 300 ms), a target appeared randomly 3°, 6°, or 9° to the left or right (duration 20 ms). A high proportion of targets appeared within the circle. Participants were instructed to maintain central fixation throughout and eye movements were monitored with infrared oculography. While dyslexics were significantly impaired on literacy and phonological measures, there were no between-group differences on the attention task. ANOVA revealed a main effect of eccentricity on MRT, which increased with target eccentricity. No effect of visual field was observed, indicating a symmetrical distribution of attention in both groups. Also, no between-group differences emerged in the number of trials on which eye movements were made, and the number of eye movements made was not significantly correlated with MRT. Bivariate correlations revealed strong associations between phonology and literacy in both groups, such that higher single-word reading scores were accompanied by better phonological skills. No systematic pattern of correlations emerged between MRT and literacy performance. We conclude that poor phonological skills of dyslexics underpin their literacy difficulties and that in a simple cueing task their distribution of attention is normal.
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