Visual search and childhood vision impairment: A GAMLSS-oriented multiverse analysis approach

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The aim of this report was to analyze reaction times and accuracy in children with a vision impairment performing a feature-based visual search task using a multiverse statistical approach. The search task consisted of set sizes 4, 16, and 24, consisting of distractors (circle) and a target (ellipse) that were presented randomly to school-aged individuals with or without a vision impairment. Interactions and main effects of key variables relating to reaction times and accuracy were analyzed via a novel statistical method blending GAMLSS (generalized additive models for location, scale, and shape) and distributional regression trees. Reaction times for the target-present and target-absent conditions were significantly slower in the vision impairment group with increasing set sizes (p <.001). Female participants were significantly slower than were males for set sizes 16 and 24 in the target-absent condition (p <.001), with male participants being significantly slower than females in the target-present condition (p <.001). Accuracy was only significantly worse (p =.03) for participants less than 14 years of age for the target-absent condition with set sizes 16 and 24. There was a positive association between binocular visual acuity and search time (p <.001). The application of GAMLSS with distributional regression trees to the analysis of visual search data may provide further insights into underlying factors affecting search performance in case-control studies where psychological or physical differences may influence visual search outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-977
Number of pages10
JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
Issue number4
Early online date23 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Visual search
  • Reaction time methods
  • Statistical inference


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