Effect of message type on the visual attention of adults with traumatic brain injury

Amber Thiessen, Jessica Brown, David Beukelman, Karen Hux, Angela Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to measure the effect of message type (i.e., action, naming) on the visual attention patterns of individuals with and without traumatic brain injury (TBI) when viewing grids composed of 3 types of images (i.e., icons, decontextualized photographs, and contextualized photographs). Method: Fourteen adults with TBI and 14 without TBI— assigned either to an action or naming message condition— viewed grids composed of 3 different image types. Participants’ task was to select/sustain visual fixation on the image they felt best represented a stated message (i.e., action or naming). Results: With final fixation location serving as a proxy for selection, participants in the naming message condition selected decontextualized photographs significantly more often than the other 2 image types. Participants in the action message condition selected contextualized photographs significantly more frequently than the other 2 image types. Minimal differences were noted between participant groups. Conclusions: This investigation provides preliminary evidence of the relationship between image and message type. Clinicians involved in the selection of images used for message representation should consider the message being represented when designing supports for people with TBI. Further research is necessary to fully understand the relationship between images and message type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-442
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for AAC under Grants H133E080011 and H133E140026 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the U.S. Department of Education?s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and under Grant 90RE5017-02-01 from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research in the Department of Health and Human Services. The project was also supported in part by Tobii Technologies. The authors wish to thank the residents and the staff at QLI in Omaha, Nebraska, for their participation in the research activities. The authors report no conflicts of interest and are solely responsible for the content and writing of the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


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