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Reaction Time Effects of Semantically-Related and Unrelated Visual and Auditory Distraction in Younger and Older Adults Leonard L. LaPointe, PhD 1 Julie.

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Presentation on theme: "Reaction Time Effects of Semantically-Related and Unrelated Visual and Auditory Distraction in Younger and Older Adults Leonard L. LaPointe, PhD 1 Julie."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reaction Time Effects of Semantically-Related and Unrelated Visual and Auditory Distraction in Younger and Older Adults Leonard L. LaPointe, PhD 1 Julie A.G. Stierwalt, PhD 1 Adrienne B. Hancock, PhD 2 Rachel Goff, BA 1 Gary R. Heald, PhD 1 Selena Snowden, AuD 1 1Dept of Communication Disorders, Florida State University and TMH-FSU Neurolinguistic-Neurocognitive Research Center, Tallahassee 2 Department of Speech and Hearing Science George Washington University, Washington DC

2 A Sign of the Times

3

4 The Problem Burning Questions Few studies of the effects of semantic distraction on linguistic processing in aphasia or people without aphasia Does an ambient background of semantic auditory distraction facilitate or interfere with ongoing linguistic processing? Modality effects of semantic ambient background are unclear Does visual ambient semantic distraction differ from auditory? Are there age effects related to semantic distractibility?

5 Purpose The primary purpose: To determine the effects of distraction, semantic relatedness visual & auditory on a picture identification task in younger and older adults

6 Why is this Important? Examining the parameters of interference, competition, and distraction effects on linguistic and cognitive processing may help us understand how the brain filters, selects, and allocates resources Multi-tasking (aka “giga-tasking”) is pervasive and increasing, threatening our sanity and safety Compromised safety may be related to attentional resource depletion and ambient distraction Risk of falls in the elderly Cell phone driving accidents Medical errors and industrial accidents

7 Multi-Tasking

8 Within-Subject Variables Semantic Category Sports Vegetables Visual Relatedness Semantically related Semantically unrelated Auditory Relatedness Quiet Semantically related Semantically unrelated Bursts of white noise

9 Where Do We Process Vegetables? Broccoli’s Area? Maybe. Maybe not. (thanks to JCR)

10 Semantically RELATED Visual Participants heard “Point to Corn” and then saw these pictures

11 Semantically UNRELATED Visual Participants heard “Point to corn” and then saw these pictures.

12 AUDITORY Conditions 1.Semantically related example: Category: Vegetables Target: Corn Participant heard: “Beans…Squash…etc.”* 2.Semantically unrelated Category: Sports Participant heard: “Hammer… Bucket…etc.”* 3. Quiet, no distraction 4. Bursts of white noise, non-linguistic interruption *No target items were used as auditory distracters

13 Comparison of Semantic CATEGORIES Item analysis compared mean, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation (a ratio of sd to mean) RTs for vegetable targets were always shortest, regardless of visual or auditory distraction condition but differences between categories did not reach statistical significance (and were therefore pooled) Based on data from a previous study, the category Birds was omitted because of item ambiguity and poor participant knowledge of avian categories…we believe the entire category migrated

14 Procedures (Auditory) All participants passed a hearing screening at 25dB Corrective hearing amplification or corrective lenses were allowed Auditory ambient distracters were presented at 60dB SL

15 Design Overview Visual Arrays (4 pictures) Target Category 4 Auditory Distraction Levels QuietSemantically RELATED- Auditory Semantically UNRELATED - Auditory Bursts of white noise Semantically- Related (Target with 3 RELATED Foils) 1. Sports 2. Veggies Semantically UNRELATED- visually (Target with 3 UNRELATED foils) 1. Veggies 2. Sports

16 Methods and Procedures 17 healthy, young adults (mean age 20.1 yrs) 16 healthy, older adults (mean age 75 yrs) Participants were instructed to “point” to one of four displayed pictures using a 4- button keypad Task requirements remained constant; categories and visual and auditory distractions were manipulated

17 Means and (SDs) for Picture Identification Reaction Times for Younger and Older Adults Across All Conditions Group Visual Sem Related Visual Sem Unrelat Aud Quiet Aud Sem Related Aud Sem Unrelat Aud White Noise Younger Older 960 (358) 715 (233) 850 (294) 880 (319) 886 (306) 734 (264) 1327 (357) 1046 (426) 1172 (527) 1332 (357) 1172 (494) 1071 (351)

18 Picture Identification Reaction Time Older Adults vs. Younger Adults Across Conditions of No Distraction, Semantically-Related Distraction, Semantically-Unrelated Distraction, and Bursts of White Noise * Sig t= 3.72, p<.001 across groups for all modalities, conditions ** Sig t= 3.51, p<.01 within older group for Quiet vs. Sem Rel and for Sem Rel vs. Sem Unrel; Sem Rel vs. White Noise

19 Reaction Times (RT) for Picture Identification for Young and Older Adults by Auditory Condition (Another View) RT in Ms

20 Picture Identification Reaction Time (Ms) Older Adults vs. Younger Adults Across Conditions (Quiet; Sem Related; Sem Unrel; White Noise)

21 Conclusions Performance in the presence of distraction is determined by many factors, including the linguistic context or semantic relatedness of the distraction and the modality of the distraction In the group of healthy young people, picture identification was slowed by semantically related visual distraction, but NOT by ambient auditory distraction Across all conditions, older adults had significantly longer reaction times than younger participants This finding extended across semantic relatedness as well as across all conditions of distraction Few errors were made; accuracy was not a factor that needed to be analyzed

22 Cognitive Resource Allocation: A Vegetable Garden of Interpretations Auditory Distraction Findings: Resource allocation theory suggests that perhaps younger adults decided the ambient words were not important or sufficiently distracting to allocate cognitive resource or controlled processing to the ambient auditory stimuli Our data supports this hypothesis because neither related nor unrelated auditory word conditions were different than the quiet condition. Visual Distraction Findings: Participants were required, however, to look at the pictures when making a selection and therefore could not avoid semantic relatedness effects by ignoring the visual stimuli (In other words, in this paradigm participants could have ignored auditory, but not visual distraction)

23 Older vs. Younger Participants For older adults, however, it is a different ballgame…or garden Our findings support and extend those of Wingfield, Tun, et al that there are important age effects to consider in linguistic processing during distraction or dual tasks Our findings support as well that the type of distracter is important Meaningful distracters impaired performance more in previous studies Semantic-relatedness emerges as another parameter of distraction that affects linguistic processing in older but not younger adults

24 Discussion But why did participants get faster during bursts of white noise? The bursts of white noise were included to provide an interruption without a linguistic load. Possibly, participants found the static- like white noise sound annoying and it actually became an incentive to hurry and make a selection so that the noise would stop In Carpenterian fashion, we’ve only just begun. Much more research is needed to clarify the effects of interference, competition, or distraction on linguistic and cognitive processing Preliminary data suggest persons with aphasia have greater difficulty than healthy elderly. More on that later…

25 References Bates E., Marangolo P., Pizzamiglio L., & Dick F. Linguistic and nonlinguistic priming in aphasia. Brain and Language, 76 (1), 62. Baum, S.R. (1997). Phonological, semantic, and mediated priming in aphasia. Brain and Language, 60(3), 347. Crutch, S.J. & Warrington, E.K. (2003). The organization of semantic memory: Evidence from semantic refractory access dysphasia. Brain and Language, 87, 81. Damian, M.F., & Bowers, J.S. (2003). Locus of semantic interference in picture-word interference tasks. Psychonomic Bulletin Review, 10 (1), 111. Damian, M.F., Vigliocco, G., & Levelt, W.J. (2001) Effects of semantic context in the naming of pictures and words. Cognition, 81 (3), 77. LaPointe, L. L. & Erickson, R.J., (1991). Auditory vigilance during divided task attention in aphasic individuals. Aphasiology, 5 (6), 511. LeCompte, Neely, & Wilson (1997). Irrelevant speech and irrelevant tones: the relative importance of speech to the irrelevant speech effect. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 23(2), 472. McNeil, M. Roy, Doyle, P. J., Hula, W. Hoop, Rubitinsky, H.J., Fossett, Hot Water, and Matthews, C.T. Using resource allocation theory and dual-task methods to increase the sensitivity of assessment in aphasia. Aphasiology, 18(5-7), 2004, 521. Murray, L. L., Holland, A.L., & Beeson, P.M. (1997). Auditory processing in individuals with mild aphasia: A study of resource allocation. Journal of Speech, Language, Hearing Research, 40 (4), 792. Renvall, K., Laine, M., Laakso, M. & Martin, N. (2003). Anomia rehabilitation with contextual priming: A case study. Aphasiology, 17, 305. Wingfield, A., Tun, P.A., Koh, C.K., & Rosen, M.J. (1999). Regaining lost time: Adult aging and the effect of time restoration on recall of time-compressed speech. Psychology and Aging, 14: 380.

26 Acknowledgements Many thanks to the participants who made this study possible Many thanks to the good sports and to the vegetables who volunteered their time to be pictured in this study


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