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Valerie Beck, Carly Leonard, Benjamin Robinson, Britta Hahn, Andrew Hollingworth, James Gold, Steven Luck; People with Schizophrenia Demonstrate More Optimal Feature-Guided Visual Search in a Probabilistic Search Task. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):338. doi: 10.1167/16.12.338.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Recent research suggests that people with schizophrenia (PSZ) tend to hyperfocus on goal-relevant information, which is typically deleterious to task performance. However, performance decrements can be difficult to interpret because many different factors can lead to impaired performance. Here we show that hyperfocusing on goal-relevant information can actually lead to a more optimal pattern of attentional guidance during visual search in PSZ than in healthy control subjects (HCS). We recorded eye movements during a visual search task in which participants searched for a Landolt-C target in a 24-item array (12 red and 12 blue items), and we varied the probability that the target was a cued color (100%, 80%, or 50%) versus an uncued color (0%, 20%, or 50%). When the target was more likely to be one color than the other (80% valid cue), both groups tended to fixate multiple items of the cued color before switching to the uncued color, but this pattern was stronger in PSZ than in HCS. In other words, PSZ tended to maintain the goal of searching the cued color longer than did HCS. Comparison of the participants' search patterns against those generated using Monte Carlo analyses revealed that the pattern in PSZ was closer to optimal than the pattern in HCS. Furthermore, fixating a greater number of cued color items was associated with faster target detection in both groups. These results cannot be explained by a generalized cognitive impairment in PSZ, but instead reflect a specific alteration of cognitive processing in schizophrenia that can lead to more optimal performance under some conditions.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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