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Franziska Geringswald, Anne Herbik, Michael B. Hoffmann, Stefan Pollmann; Contextual cueing impairment in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Journal of Vision 2013;13(3):28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.3.28.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual attention can be guided by past experience of regularities in our visual environment. In the contextual cueing paradigm, incidental learning of repeated distractor configurations speeds up search times compared to random search arrays. Concomitantly, fewer fixations and more direct scan paths indicate more efficient visual exploration in repeated search arrays. In previous work, we found that simulating a central scotoma in healthy observers eliminated this search facilitation. Here, we investigated contextual cueing in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who suffer from impaired foveal vision. AMD patients performed visual search using only their more severely impaired eye (n = 13) as well as under binocular viewing (n = 16). Normal-sighted controls developed a significant contextual cueing effect. In comparison, patients showed only a small nonsignificant advantage for repeated displays when searching with their worse eye. When searching binocularly, they profited from contextual cues, but still less than controls. Number of fixations and scan pattern ratios showed a comparable pattern as search times. Moreover, contextual cueing was significantly correlated with acuity in monocular search. Thus, foveal vision loss may lead to impaired guidance of attention by contextual memory cues.
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