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Lexical decisions in adults with low and high susceptibility to pattern-related visual stress: a preliminary investigation
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 13:38 authored by James M. Gilchrist, Peter M. Allen
Pattern-related visual stress (PRVS) is a form of sensory hypersensitivity that some people experience when viewing high contrast repeating patterns, notably alternating dark and light stripes. Those susceptible to PRVS typically have a strong aversion to such stimuli, and this is often accompanied by experiences of visual discomfort and disturbance. The patterns most likely to elicit symptoms of PRVS have a square-wave grating configuration of spatial frequency ~3 cycles/degree. Such stimuli are characteristic of printed text in which lines of words and the spaces between them present a high contrast grating-like stimulus. Consequently, much printed reading material has the potential to elicit PRVS that may impair reading performance, and this problem appears to be common in individuals with reading difficulties including dyslexia. However, the manner in which PRVS affects reading ability is unknown. One possibility is that the early sensory visual stress may interfere with the later cognitive word recognition stage of the reading process, resulting in reading performance that is slower and/or less accurate. To explore the association of PRVS with word recognition ability, lexical decision performance (speed and accuracy) to words and pronounceable non-words was measured in two groups of adults, having low and high susceptibility to PRVS. Results showed that lexical decisions were generally faster but less accurate in high-PRVS, and also that high-PRVS participants made decisions significantly faster for words than for non-words, revealing a strong lexicality effect that was not present in low-PRVS. These findings are novel and, as yet, unconfirmed by other studies.
Publication titleFrontiers in Psychology
- Published version