We describe four protocols for evaluating the attentional skills of myopic and control subjects in target stimulus detection tasks; simple reaction times (RT) are recorded. Two protocols are designed to study both automatic and voluntary orienting of attention. Modified implicit orienting paradigms [Q. J. Exp. Psychol. 32A (1980) 2; J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 109 (1980) 160] are used in which cues elicit a shift of attention but gaze is maintained on a central fixation point. A third paradigm is designed to study the time-course of focusing; two circles (focusing cues) of different diameters are randomly presented on a point of the visual space where attention has been previously shifted. Seven SOAs (stimulus onset asynchrony) are used. The fourth paradigm was designed to evaluate visual search; three circular arrays of four, eight and twelve stimuli are randomly presented around a fixation point and subjects have to detect the target stimulus inside one of the circles (the other circles are distracters). Since some attentional deficits are associated with myopia [Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 38 (1997) 1725; Cogn. Brain Res. 8 (1999) 369], these protocols could be useful both in the detection of deficits in subjects on the verge of becoming myopics and in the development of cognitive training programs to reduce attentional deficits.
- Visual search
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