Change Detection as a Tool for Assessing Attentional Deployment in Atypical Populations: The Case of Williams Syndrome

By Tager-Flusberg, Helen; Plesa-Skwerer, Daniela et al. | Cognitie, Creier, Comportament, September 2007 | Go to article overview

Change Detection as a Tool for Assessing Attentional Deployment in Atypical Populations: The Case of Williams Syndrome


Tager-Flusberg, Helen, Plesa-Skwerer, Daniela, Schofield, Casey, Verbalis, Alyssa, Simons, Daniel J., Cognitie, Creier, Comportament


ABSTRACT

When unexpected changes occur in a visual scene, people often fail to notice them. Because change detection depends on attentional mechanisms, people tend to notice changes that are of special significance. People with Williams syndrome (WMS) have an unusually strong interest in other people that is manifest in relatively spared face recognition skills, heightened social attention and hypersociability. We hypothesized that in a change blindness paradigm participants with WMS would be more sensitive to changes in people in social scenes compared to age, IQ and language matched participants with learning or intellectual disabilities. Two videos were presented, one showing an unexpected change to the identity of an actor and one with numerous unexpected changes during a conversation scene. Subjects in both the WMS and the learning disabilities groups noticed fewer overall changes than age-matched normal controls, suggesting that change detection is especially challenging to people with intellectual disabilities. Consistent with our hypothesis, WMS subjects noticed more person-related changes in the complex scene than did subjects with other intellectual/learning disabilities. WMS subjects attend to social elements of dynamic scenes, decreasing change blindness for changes associated with people.

KEYWORDS: Williams syndrome, change detection, change blindness, attentional biases.

INTRODUCTION

How people encode their visual environment depends to a large extent on how attention is deployed in real-time. Although our perceptual experience seems rich in detail, people are surprisingly poor at noticing large changes to visual scenes if the changes occur during a visual disruption, and this "change blindness" is accentuated when the changes are unexpected (see Rensink, 2002; Simons & Ambinder, 2005 for recent reviews). For example, nearly two-thirds of observers failed to notice when the only actor in a brief motion picture was unexpectedly replaced by a different actor during a cut from one shot to the next (Levin & Simons, 1997). Change detection is enhanced when the change occurs instantly, producing a visible transient signal (Rensink, O'Regan, & Clark, 1997). However, change blindness ensues when the perceptibility of the transient signal is disrupted by a blank screen (e.g., Rensink et al., 1997), an eye movement (e.g., Grimes, 1996; Henderson & Hollingworth, 1999; McConkie & Currie, 1996), a blink (O'Regan, Deubel, Clark, & Rensink, 2000), or a cut or pan in a motion picture (e.g., Simons & Levin, 1998; Levin & Simons, 1997). This pervasive change blindness occurs both when observers intentionally search for change and when changes occur unexpectedly.

Evidence from a variety of paradigms suggests that attention to the change is necessary for change detection. Observers must encode the pre-change scene and compare it to the post-change scene, a seemingly attention-demanding process. To the extent that attention is needed for change detection, successful change detection implies that the changing element was attended and encoded (Tse, 2004). In support of this assumption, changes to objects rated as more important to the scene are noticed more readily than less important objects (Rensink et al., 1997). Several studies have relied on this assumption, using change detection tasks to measure the capacity of attention (Rensink, 2000) and to map the spatial locus of attention (Tse, Sheinberg, & Logothetis, 2003; Tse, 2004). Individual and group differences in expectations, interest, and expertise also influence the focus of attention in scenes, leading to enhanced or impoverished change detection performance. For example, recreational drug users and problem drinkers are more likely than non-users to notice changes to drug paraphernalia and alcohol-related items, respectively (Jones, Jones, Smith, & Copley, 2003; Jones, Bruce, Livingstone, & Reed, 2006). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Change Detection as a Tool for Assessing Attentional Deployment in Atypical Populations: The Case of Williams Syndrome
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.