Visual Attention in Deaf and Normal Hearing Adults: Effects of Stimulus Compatibility

Sladen, Douglas P.; Tharpe, Anne Marie; Ashmead, Daniel H.; Grantham, D. Wesley; Chun, Marvin M.
December 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2005, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p1529
Academic Journal
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 button when they saw an H, and another button when they saw an N. Targets Hand N were flashed with 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.


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