Visual Attention in Deaf and Normal Hearing Adults Effects of Stimulus Compatibility Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2005
Visual Attention in Deaf and Normal Hearing Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Douglas P. Sladen
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Anne Marie Tharpe
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Daniel H. Ashmead
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • D. Wesley Grantham
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Marvin M. Chun
    Yale University, New Haven, CT
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2005
Visual Attention in Deaf and Normal Hearing Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1529-1537. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/106)
History: Received September 26, 2003 , Accepted April 13, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1529-1537. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/106)
History: Received September 26, 2003; Accepted April 13, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 27

Visual perceptual skills of deaf and normal hearing adults were measured using the Eriksen flanker task. Participants were seated in front of a computer screen while a series of target letters flanked by similar or dissimilar letters was flashed in front of them. Participants were instructed to press one buttonwhen they saw an H, and another buttonwhen they saw an N. Targets H and N were flashedwith flanking letters that were either H or N, creating response-compatible and response-incompatible arrays. Flankers were presented at different distances from the targets and reaction times were measured. In the present study, reaction times were significantly faster for the hearing group than for the deaf group. However, the hearing group had significantly more errors on this task than the deaf group, suggesting that the deaf participants may have been more deliberate in their responses. In addition, the deaf group revealed a significantly greater interference effect than the hearing group at a parafoveal (i.e., 1.0°) eccentricity. These findings suggest that deaf individuals may allocate their visual resources over a wider range than those with normal hearing.

Acknowledgments
We would like to acknowledge Daniel Shima of Vanderbilt University for his input developing the experimental procedure. In addition, we would also like to thank the participants and their families for their significant contribution to this study.
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