Visual Attention and the Dimensional Change Card Sort

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Title: Visual Attention and the Dimensional Change Card Sort
Creators: Minar, Nicholas
Advisor: Sloutsky, Vladimir
Issue Date: 2010-06
Abstract: The current study examines cognitive flexibility and the development of executive function in children ranging from 3-5 years of age. The importance of executive function is seen in situations that involve multi-tasking, learning new routines, and functioning in a noisy environment. Our task is a variation of Zelazo’s Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS), where young children are given one set of rules for sorting picture cards, which is then followed by a rule switch. Traditionally, 3 year olds fail to abide by the new set of rules and perseverate by using old rules, while 4 year olds effectively follow the new set of rules. The goal of the study is to understand what causes these perseverations. There is no agreement as to what causes perseverations; we suggest they stem from inability to inhibit irrelevant information. We test this hypothesis by examining patterns of eye movements using Tobii eye tracking equipment while children are tested on a computerized version of the DCCS. This approach elucidates children’s ability to strategically allocate attention while looking at stimuli. We expect that children 3-4 years of age are unable to restrain their gaze from irrelevant dimensions, resulting in low efficiency of visual attention. We also predict that 4-5 year olds, who normally pass the postswitch phase, will also be unable to keep their gaze from irrelevant dimensions. However, we predict 4-5 year olds relative engagement with irrelevant features will be lower than that of younger children, which may be enough to reduce perseverations in the postswitch phase. We found similar behavioral data on our computerized version of the DCCS task, with the average 3 year old perseverating during the postswitch phase while on average 4 year olds passed. We also found via looking time data that 3 year olds had difficulty efficiently allocating their gaze away from irrelevant information. We found those who failed a given phase of the DCCS could not focus their visual attention on relevant dimensions of the stimuli for as long as those who passed.
Embargo: No embargo
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2010
Keywords: DCCS
Mental flexibility
executive function
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Attribution 3.0 Unported This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License:
Attribution 3.0 Unported