Visual filtering in time and space among persons with Down syndrome

E. S.M. Matsuba, N. Russo, E. McKernan, R. Curl, T. Dawkins, H. Flores, M. Miseros, J. Stewart, A. Loebus, D. A. Brodeur, J. A. Burack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) appear to perform at a level that is commensurate with developmental expectations on simple tasks of selective attention. In this study, we examine how their selective attention is impacted by target changes that unfold over both time and space. This increased complexity reflects an attempt at greater ecological validity in an experimental task, as a steppingstone for better understanding attention among persons with DS in real-world environments. Methods: A modified flanker task was used to assess visual temporal and spatial filtering among persons with DS (n = 14) and typically developing individuals (n = 14) matched on non-verbal mental age (mental age = 8.5 years). Experimental conditions included varying the stimulus onset asynchronies between the onset of the target and flankers, the distances between the target and flankers, and the similarity of the target and flankers. Results: Both the participants with DS and the typically developing participants showed slower reaction times and lower accuracy rates when the flankers appeared closer in time and/or space to the target. Conclusion: No group differences were found on a broad level, but the findings suggest that dynamic stimuli may be processed differently by those with DS. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the developmental approach to intellectual disability originally articulated by Ed Zigler.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Down syndrome
  • attention
  • developmental approach
  • intellectual disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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