Visual Attention and Inattentive ADD
Attentional blink is a phenomenon that describes what you can see in a fast changing visual environment. If objects are presented visually one right after the other, you may see the first and miss the second because of the phenomena known as attentional blink. Attentional blink, to a certain extent, is just a measure of how quickly your visual processing recovers after being presented with a stimulus. What the recent study found was not surprise. People with Inattentive ADHD recover more slowly.
Attentional blink and another visual phenomenon known as subitizing (a term that describes the number of objects that you can visually perceive without counting them) are good measures of the capacity of a person’s visual attention or visual processing abilities.
Two researchers, Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier, at the University of Rochester, New York, have found that your visual processing abilities are not fixed and can be improved dramatically using video action games. They have been able to produce dramatic improvements in both attentional blink times and subitizing. These results were only seen with action, fast moving video games and were not seen when participants played other video games such as Tetris.
According to Green and Bavelier, participants who played the game, 'Medal of Honor: Allied Assault' for an hour each day for 10 days were able to subitize to a higher number and recovered from the attentional blink faster. The researchers concluded that both visual processing and the capacity for visual attention could be significantly improved by playing fast action video games.
I have included a video of the attentional blink phenomena. See if you can see the letter 'C' that follows the letter 'R'. It is an interesting experiment. I saw both the 'R' and the 'C' the first time I did this and the second time only saw the letter 'C' (the phenomena of seeing the second but not the first letter is known as backward masking and is also probably improved by playing video games).
I posted earlier on Visual Processing, Inattentive ADHD and video games in this post.
If you would like to improve your visual attention and inattentive adhd (ADHD-PI), try playing a fast action video game. The Rochester researchers used 'shooter' games but this fast action 'Steal the Gem' video game would probably help as well. You will need to move your 'up' and 'down' cursor as fast as possible to get to the gem. I am terrible at this game and I am still trying to get off of the 2nd level but my kids are much better at it! The link to this game is here.
J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2010 Nov;39(6):726-40.
Cognitive control and attentional selection in adolescents with ADHD versus ADD.
Carr L, Henderson J, Nigg JT.