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A Case Study: Speech recognition ability in noise for a U.S. military veteran with traumatic brain injury (TBI)

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The increase of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) cases in recent war history has increased the urgency of research regarding how veterans are affected by TBIs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of TBI on speech recognition

The increase of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) cases in recent war history has increased the urgency of research regarding how veterans are affected by TBIs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of TBI on speech recognition in noise. The AzBio Sentence Test was completed for signal-to-noise ratios (S/N) from -10 dB to +15 dB for a control group of ten participants and one US military veteran with history of service-connected TBI. All participants had normal hearing sensitivity defined as thresholds of 20 dB or better at frequencies from 250-8000 Hz in addition to having tympanograms within normal limits. Comparison of the data collected on the control group versus the veteran suggested that the veteran performed worse than the majority of the control group on the AzBio Sentence Test. Further research with more participants would be beneficial to our understanding of how veterans with TBI perform on speech recognition tests in the presence of background noise.

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2015-05

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Target "templates: how the precision of mental representations affects attentional guidance and decision-making in visual search

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When people look for things in their environment they use a target template - a mental representation of the object they are attempting to locate - to guide their attention around a scene and to assess incoming visual input to

When people look for things in their environment they use a target template - a mental representation of the object they are attempting to locate - to guide their attention around a scene and to assess incoming visual input to determine if they have found that for which they are searching. However, unlike laboratory experiments, searchers in the real-world rarely have perfect knowledge regarding the appearance of their target. In five experiments (with nearly 1,000 participants), we examined how the precision of the observer's template affects their ability to conduct visual search. Specifically, we simulated template imprecision in two ways: First, by contaminating our searchers' templates with inaccurate features, and second, by introducing extraneous features to the template that were unhelpful. In those experiments we recorded the eye movements of our searchers in order to make inferences regarding the extent to which attentional guidance and decision-making are hindered by template imprecision. We also examined a third way in which templates may become imprecise; namely, that they may deteriorate over time. Overall, our findings support a dual-function theory of the target template, and highlight the importance of examining template precision in future research.

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2013

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Categorical contextual cueing in visual search

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Previous research has shown that people can implicitly learn repeated visual contexts and use this information when locating relevant items. For example, when people are presented with repeated spatial configurations of distractor items or distractor identities in visual search, they

Previous research has shown that people can implicitly learn repeated visual contexts and use this information when locating relevant items. For example, when people are presented with repeated spatial configurations of distractor items or distractor identities in visual search, they become faster to find target stimuli in these repeated contexts over time (Chun and Jiang, 1998; 1999). Given that people learn these repeated distractor configurations and identities, might they also implicitly encode semantic information about distractors, if this information is predictive of the target location? We investigated this question with a series of visual search experiments using real-world stimuli within a contextual cueing paradigm (Chun and Jiang, 1998). Specifically, we tested whether participants could learn, through experience, that the target images they are searching for are always located near specific categories of distractors, such as food items or animals. We also varied the spatial consistency of target locations, in order to rule out implicit learning of repeated target locations. Results suggest that participants implicitly learned the target-predictive categories of distractors and used this information during search, although these results failed to reach significance. This lack of significance may have been due the relative simplicity of the search task, however, and several new experiments are proposed to further investigate whether repeated category information can benefit search.

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Date Created
2014

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Investigating the Relationship Between Visual Confirmation Bias and the Low-Prevalence Effect in Visual Search

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Previous research from Rajsic et al. (2015, 2017) suggests that a visual form of confirmation bias arises during visual search for simple stimuli, under certain conditions, wherein people are biased to seek stimuli matching an initial cue color even when

Previous research from Rajsic et al. (2015, 2017) suggests that a visual form of confirmation bias arises during visual search for simple stimuli, under certain conditions, wherein people are biased to seek stimuli matching an initial cue color even when this strategy is not optimal. Furthermore, recent research from our lab suggests that varying the prevalence of cue-colored targets does not attenuate the visual confirmation bias, although people still fail to detect rare targets regardless of whether they match the initial cue (Walenchok et al. under review). The present investigation examines the boundary conditions of the visual confirmation bias under conditions of equal, low, and high cued-target frequency. Across experiments, I found that: (1) People are strongly susceptible to the low-prevalence effect, often failing to detect rare targets regardless of whether they match the cue (Wolfe et al., 2005). (2) However, they are still biased to seek cue-colored stimuli, even when such targets are rare. (3) Regardless of target prevalence, people employ strategies when search is made sufficiently burdensome with distributed items and large search sets. These results further support previous findings that the low-prevalence effect arises from a failure to perceive rare items (Hout et al., 2015), while visual confirmation bias is a bias of attentional guidance (Rajsic et al., 2015, 2017).

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2018