December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
The Navon Task as a Measure of Attention Resolution Efficiency in Children and Adults
Author Affiliations
  • Victoria A. Tess
    University of Manitoba
  • Richard S. Kruk
    University of Manitoba
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3792. doi:
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      Victoria A. Tess, Richard S. Kruk; The Navon Task as a Measure of Attention Resolution Efficiency in Children and Adults. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3792.

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

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Developmental differences in visual attention may impact reading ability. Our quasi-experimental study investigated these variables in 15 children ages 5–6 years, 47 children ages 7–10 years, and 47 adults. Participants completed a computerized version of the Navon task and the Word Identification subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test, 3rd ed. In the Navon task, a large letter, composed of smaller letters, was displayed. Participants identified a target letter (H or O) that was presented at either the global (the large letter) or the local level (smaller letters that composed the large letter). There were 16 practice trials and 64 experimental trials (32 target present, with 16 global and 16 local; 32 target absent). Response time was the dependent variable and the Navon level (global vs. local) and age were the independent variables. The Navon task has typically been used to measure precedence, which is the tendency to identify a target fastest at either the global or local level. However, we used the Navon task as a novel measure of attention resolution (AR) efficiency. An absolute timing difference was calculated using the average response time during trials with targets presented at the global or local levels. Smaller absolute timing differences between the globally and locally presented targets indicated more efficient AR modulation, while larger absolute timing differences indicated less-efficient AR modulation. As expected, AR efficiency improved as age increased, partially replicating past AR research. This suggests that absolute timing differences on the Navon task may validly measure AR efficiency. Reading ability was negatively correlated with AR efficiency, indicating that higher reading scores were associated with more efficient AR. These findings suggest that AR efficiency develops during childhood and reaches adult levels by age 7–10. Additionally, AR efficiency may be a marker of reading ability.


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