September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Is higher susceptibility to attentional deficits in children related to lower susceptibility to Inattentional Blindness in visual search
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Beatriz Gil-Gómez de Liaño
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Harvard Medical School
    University of Cambridge
  • Elena Pérez-Hernández
    Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • María Quirós-Godoy
    Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Jeremy M Wolfe
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Harvard Medical School
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 56c. doi:
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      Beatriz Gil-Gómez de Liaño, Elena Pérez-Hernández, María Quirós-Godoy, Jeremy M Wolfe; Is higher susceptibility to attentional deficits in children related to lower susceptibility to Inattentional Blindness in visual search. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):56c.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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When attention is occupied with one task, an observer may fail to notice a different otherwise salient, unexpected event. This is known as Inattentional Blindness (IB). IB is modulated by individual differences in intelligence, age, or expertise. Here we show, for the first time to our knowledge, that IB is modulated by susceptibility to AD/HD during childhood. A sample of 194 children between 4–10 years old searched for child-friendly, photorealistic images among distractors in a visual search task. An unexpected letter (N) or word (COLOR) appeared in two separate trials during the task. The results show that the IB effect was bigger in younger children, especially for the youngest 4–5 year-olds, who had not been previously tested in an IB task. For the letter condition, there was a marginally significant modulation of IB with AD/HD susceptibility for children between 6–10 years old: Children with moderate to high attentional deficit (AD/HD, n=32) levels, as measured by the Conners & Kiddie Continuous Performance Tests (K-CPT & CPT), showed marginally lower levels of IB (Percentage of IBAD/HDprone=53; Percentage of IBNO_AD/HDprone=70; p=.08). Errors were significantly larger for the AD/HD prone group only when IQ was medium-low (p=.04), while RTs for the IB trials were similar across IQ and AD/HD prone groups. For the word condition the trend was similar, although the effects may have been masked by age, as there is a strong IB decrease from about 7–9 years old. This might be explained by the rapid development of reading skills around those ages; perhaps making words more salient than they are for younger children or adults. Important implications can be derived from these results: IB is a potentially valuable paradigm with which to study attentional development in children. Importantly, it could help us to develop new techniques for cognitive interventions with children.

Acknowledgement: Part of this work was supported by the Research Grant Project PSI2015-69358-R (MINECO/FEDER). Also, part of this work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, under grant 793268 - FOR-AGEKID (GF) 

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