September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Individual Differences in Objective and Subjective Socioeconomic Status, and the N2pc
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jane Couperus
    Mt. Holyoke College
  • Shuyang Lin
    Mt. Holyoke College
  • Sukhneet Kaur
    Mt. Holyoke College
  • Jiaan Shang
    Mt. Holyoke College
  • Urvi Suwal
    Mt. Holyoke College
  • Cindy Bukach
    University of Richmond
  • Cathy Reed
    Claremont McKenna College
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  Supported by grants from NSF DUE 1625521 & 1914858, DUE 1625610 & 1914834, DUE 1626554 & 1914855
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2775. doi:
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      Jane Couperus, Shuyang Lin, Sukhneet Kaur, Jiaan Shang, Urvi Suwal, Cindy Bukach, Cathy Reed; Individual Differences in Objective and Subjective Socioeconomic Status, and the N2pc. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2775.

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

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The effects of one’s socioeconomic environment during development on the neural correlates of selective attention has been a developing area of research (Wray et al., 2017). However, there is a paucity of research on the long-range impacts of these differences in young adulthood. Additionally, while there is research using objective measures of socioeconomic status (e.g. education level) and attention, subjective measures (i.e. perception of status in relation to others) have rarely been utilized. The current study examines the effects of both objective and subjective measures of socioeconomic status on visual selective attention as indexed by the N2pc event related potential component. A large sample (n=203) of young adults completed a visual search task while event related potentials were collected. Separately, participants provided information regarding objective socioeconomic status, specifically maternal education which has been used as an effective proxy of objective status (Stevens et al., 2009). Participants also completed the MacArthur Subjective Socioeconomic Status scale, indicting where they placed themselves in relation to others in the U.S. and in relation to other students at their universities. A linear regression with objective and subjective measures of socioeconomic status as predictors of N2pc Difference Wave amplitude was significant (R2=.050, F(3, 199)=3.51, p=.016). Consistent with previous research in children, results demonstrate a relation between objective socioeconomic status and N2pc amplitude. Moreover, a subjective measure of socioeconomic status (status in relation to others in the U.S.) was also related to N2pc amplitude, with higher subjective perceptions of socioeconomic status related to a larger N2pc attention affect. These finding suggest that one’s socioeconomic environment, be it objective or subjective, is an important factor in shaping selective attention into adulthood. Importantly, this research suggests developmental differences early in life can have long term implications for attention, an essential component of other cognitive processes.


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