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Julia M. Brau, Alexander Sugarman, David Rothlein, Joseph DeGutis, Michael Esterman, Francesca C. Fortenbaugh; The impact of image degradation and temporal dynamics on sustained attention. Journal of Vision 2022;22(4):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.4.8.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Many clinical populations that have sustained attention deficits also have visual deficits. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how the quality of visual input and different forms of image degradation can contribute to worse performance on sustained attention tasks, particularly those with dynamic and complex visual stimuli. This study investigated the impact of image degradation on an adapted version of the gradual-onset continuous performance task (gradCPT), where participants must discriminate between gradually fading city and mountain scenes. Thirty-six normal-vision participants completed the task, which featured two blocks of six resolution and contrast levels. Subjects either completed a version with gradually fading or static image presentations. The results show decreases in image resolution impair performance under both types of temporal dynamics, whereas performance is only impaired under gradual temporal dynamics for decreases in image contrast. Image similarity analyses showed that performance has a higher association with an observer's ability to gather an image's global spatial layout (i.e. gist) than local variations in pixel luminance, particularly under gradual image presentation. This work suggests that gradually fading attention paradigms are sensitive to deficits in primary visual function, potentially leading to these issues being misinterpreted as attentional failures.
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