Deakin University

File(s) not publicly available

Visual search in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia

journal contribution
posted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Amanda DouglassAmanda Douglass, M Walterfang, D Velakoulis, Larry AbelLarry Abel
Background: Changes to visual search have shown specific patterns in a number of dementia subtypes. The cortical regions involved in the control of visual search overlap with the regions affected in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Previous literature has examined visual search in bvFTD with smaller array sizes. Objective: To examine the pattern of behavior shown by bvFTD patients while undertaking visual search in the presence of larger numbers of distractors to model increased cognitive load. Methods: 15 bvFTD and 17 control participants undertook three visual search tasks: color, orientation, and conjunction searches. A wide range of array sizes was used, from 16 to 100 items arranged as a square. Behavior was quantified using accuracy, response time, and eye movements. Results: BvFTD participants displayed a reduction in accuracy and an increased response time across all task types. BvFTD participants displayed an increase in number of objects examined and number of fixations made for color and conjunction tasks. Fixation duration was increased for orientation and conjunction (the more difficult tasks) but not color search. Results indicated the increase in time to response to be due to an increased intercept, with no significant difference in slope for the different tasks. Conclusion: BvFTD participants display a pattern of visual search behavior consisting of a decrease in accuracy, an increase in response time, and a corresponding increase in the number and length of eye movements made during visual search. The pattern seen corresponds to studies of frontal lobe damage, while differing in pattern from that seen in a range of other cognitive conditions.



Journal of alzheimer's disease






1303 - 1312


IOS Press


Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, IOS Press and the authors