Enhancing visual search abilities of people with intellectual disabilities

Wai Ping Cecilia Tsang, Jackson K K Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This study aimed to evaluate the effects of cueing in visual search paradigm for people with and without intellectual disabilities (ID). A total of 36 subjects (18 persons with ID and 18 persons with normal intelligence) were recruited using convenient sampling method. A series of experiments were conducted to compare guided cue strategies using either motion contrast or additional cue to basic search task. Repeated measure ANOVA and post hoc multiple comparison tests were used to compare each cue strategy. Results showed that the use of guided strategies was able to capture focal attention in an autonomic manner in the ID group (Pillai's Trace = 5.99, p < 0.0001). Both guided cue and guided motion search tasks demonstrated functionally similar effects that confirmed the non-specific character of salience. These findings suggested that the visual search efficiency of people with ID was greatly improved if the target was made salient using cueing effect when the complexity of the display increased (i.e. set size increased). This study could have an important implication for the design of the visual searching format of any computerized programs developed for people with ID in learning new tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-135
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Animation
  • Computer-assisted information (CAI)
  • Guided cues
  • Learning
  • People with intellectual disabilities
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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