August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
Visuospatial Attention and Discrimination of Oriented Gabor Patches in Children as a Function of Birth Experience
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ivy Chau
    York University
  • Shir Bach-Kay
    York University
  • Audrey Wong-Kee-You
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Institute
  • Scott Adler
    York University
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  The Hallward Fund of the Toronto Foundation
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 5593. doi:
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      Ivy Chau, Shir Bach-Kay, Audrey Wong-Kee-You, Scott Adler; Visuospatial Attention and Discrimination of Oriented Gabor Patches in Children as a Function of Birth Experience. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):5593.

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

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Introduction: Recent studies have shown that visuospatial attentional performance in 3-month-olds is influenced by their birth experience, that is, whether they were delivered via C-section or vaginally. That is, infants delivered by C-section allocated attention and eye movements slower than infants delivered vaginally. What is not known, however, is whether birth experience persists to affect attentional performance as children age. Method: Seven- to 8- and 9- to 10-year-old participants’ visuospatial attention as a function of their birth mode was, therefore, assessed in a perceptual detection task in which they needed to indicate whether a tilted Gabor patch had been presented. Prior to presentation of the target Gabor patch, either a cue or no cue was briefly presented at the patch location to assess the impact of attention due to birth mode. Children indicated with a button press across 60 trials whether a tilted Gabor patch had been presented. Results: Analyses indicated that the 7- to 8-year-olds, delivered by C-section, exhibited lower accuracy in both cue and no-cue conditions relative to those delivered vaginally and to all 9- to 10-year-olds. Reaction time differences (no-cue mean RT – cue mean RT per participant) were calculated to standardize the measure across participants. Seven- to 8-year-olds delivered via C-section had greater reaction time differences than those delivered vaginally, and the 9- to 10-year-olds delivered via C-section. Conclusion: These findings suggest that consistent with previous findings with infants, C-section birth’s impact on attention persists into childhood, perhaps via a speed-accuracy tradeoff. This impact, however, might wane, or perhaps be modulated by other developing processing mechanisms, as they get older.


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