Abstract The most common persistent symptoms following traumatic brain injury (TBI) include deficits in vision, cognition, and communication. The combination of cognitive-communication and visual impairments experienced by those with brain injury have detrimental effects on rehabilitation and recovery, affecting an individual’s ability to interpret the physical and social world and even engage in basic self-care tasks. Considering the widespread effects of these deficits on an individual’s daily life, healthcare professionals need information on implementation of visual supports in the rehabilitation process. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine how individuals with and without TBI exhibit differences in the decision-making process, organizational search, processing time, and accuracy when engaging in a visual processing task comparing explicit and implicit information conditions. Participants included 15 adults with histories of mild to severe TBI and 15 age-, gender-, and education-matched controls. Participants completed a decision-making task where they matched picture to sentence for three conditions: (a) a condition targeting the main action, (b) a condition targeting a background detail, and (c) a condition targeting a physical or mental inference. The researchers utilized eye-tracking hardware and software to track participant eye movements and analyze various eye-movement metrics. Results of this study demonstrated that participants with and without TBI demonstrated significantly more regressions to the sentence, a higher number of fixations, and longer average fixation duration for the inference condition. Furthermore, participants with TBI displayed significantly longer fixations for the inference condition compared to controls, all of which suggest that the inference condition was more challenging or engaging than the explicit conditions. Additionally, all participants allocated nearly the same percentage of time fixating on the target image as they did to viewing all three foil images collectively. This information provides insight into how individuals with and without TBI make decisions. Rehabilitation professionals need information regarding the use of visual supports for individuals with TBI. The knowledge gained from this research provides important information visual processing following TBI and the use of images in rehabilitation to support cognition and language comprehension.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. May 2017. Major: Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences. Advisor: Jessica Brown. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 77 pages.
Evaluation of Visual Attention to Images by Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury.
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