The associations of stimulus-driven and goal-directed attentional control on reading accuracy and reading fluency among first grade Chinese children

The associations of stimulus-driven and goal-directed attentional control on reading accuracy and reading fluency among first grade Chinese children

First Author: LEI WANG -- Education University of Hong Kong
Additional authors/chairs: 
Duo Liu; Li-Chih Wang; Zhengye Xu
Keywords: Attention, visual-spatial skills, Word reading, Reading development, Grade 1-2
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Feature search (e.g., search for a horizontal line among some vertical lines) and conjunction search (e.g., search for a horizontal red line among some horizontal green lines and some vertical red lines) are two typical measures of visual-spatial attention, tapping stimulus-driven and goal-directed attentional control respectively. In previous studies, the roles of these two visual attention measures were mainly studied among children with dyslexia. In this study, the associations of them with character reading accuracy and fluency were explored among typical Chinese readers.

Method: A total of 194 first grade Chinese children (mean age = 7.18, SD = .41) participated in this study. In the visual search task, children were asked to judge whether there was a target item presented on the computer screen as accurately and as quickly as possible. The task contained feature search and conjunction search conditions, both had three set sizes (9, 16, 36). These children were also administered with Chinese character reading, reading fluency, morphological awareness, RAN, non-verbal IQ, verbal working memory and vocabulary.

Results: In the multiple regression analyses, after controlling for age, non-verbal IQ, working memory, morphological awareness, RAN and vocabulary, conjunction search accuracy (target was absent) accounted for 3.6% variance in character reading accuracy (Beta = .20, p < .01) and 2.4% variance in reading fluency (Beta = .16, p < .05).

Conclusions: Goal-directed attentional control, measured with the conjunction visual search, was important for Chinese first graders’ character reading at both accuracy and fluency level.