• Lærke Fahl
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
This study proposed an alternative way of assessing visuospatial neglect by using a hybrid foraging task. The hybrid foraging task used in this study has previously been used in laboratory settings as a measure of visual attention. This study aimed to determine if the hybrid foraging task can be performed on a tablet with a touchscreen, thereby enabling bedside assessment. Furthermore, this study also aimed to explore the performance on the task on a sample of neurologically healthy older adults in Denmark. Specifically, a measure of the spatial placement of each clicked object was added and used to determine if there were any differences in performance on the hybrid foraging task when collecting targets in different areas of the screen. The hybrid foraging behavior found in this study was expected to correspond to data previously collected on a similar age group in America using the same task. 
All participants included in this study were 65 years or older and reported having no neurological disorders. This study included three experiments. The first experiment was aimed at assessing the testing procedure and the initial feedback of the hybrid foraging task from participants (n = 2). In this experiment, a difference was found between the foraging behavior in the first and second block of the hybrid foraging task, with both participants foraging more optimally in the second block. The second experiment was aimed at examining the difference in foraging behavior in the two blocks. The participants in the second experiment were the same as in the first experiment. The results of the second experiment indicated that performance on the hybrid foraging did not appear to keep changing after the second block, however the pattern was still somewhat unclear, and therefore this was investigated further in the third experiment. The aim of the third experiment was to collect data on the hybrid foraging task performed on a tablet by a larger group of Danish older adults (n = 40). After completing the hybrid foraging task, the participants were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding their experience of the task and demographic information about themselves. Their performance on the hybrid foraging task was analyzed and compared to the two previous experiments as well as prior research.
The performance on the hybrid foraging task, as well as the responses on the questionnaire, indicated that the hybrid foraging task can be made available for bedside assessment by being performed on a tablet. Furthermore, the results indicated that the task demands and the administration on a tablet was appropriate for this sample of older Danish adults. By assessing the results of the spatial measure, several patterns were found in the participants’ performance on the task. Most notably, a naturally occurring pattern of object collection was found, with participants tending to collect most objects near the center of the screen and collect few objects in the corners of the screen. The general pattern of foraging behavior found in previous research using the hybrid foraging task was found to be replicated in a sample of older adults in Denmark. Furthermore, the age-related decline in optimality of foraging behavior, that has previously been found, was replicated within the sample of older Danish adults in this study. While this study can be seen as the foundation, further research is needed to investigate the hybrid foraging task’s ability to detect visuospatial neglect in patients.
Publication date1 Jun 2023
Number of pages67
ID: 532431865