Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to measure the effect of message type (i.e., action, naming) on the visual attention patterns of individuals with and without traumatic brain injury (TBI) when viewing grids composed of 3 types of images (i.e., icons, decontextualized photographs, and contextualized photographs).
Method: Fourteen adults with TBI and 14 without TBI-assigned either to an action or naming message condition-viewed grids composed of 3 different image types. Participants' task was to select/sustain visual fixation on the image they felt best represented a stated message (i.e., action or naming).
Results: With final fixation location serving as a proxy for selection, participants in the naming message condition selected decontextualized photographs significantly more often than the other 2 image types. Participants in the action message condition selected contextualized photographs significantly more frequently than the other 2 image types. Minimal differences were noted between participant groups.
Conclusions: This investigation provides preliminary evidence of the relationship between image and message type. Clinicians involved in the selection of images used for message representation should consider the message being represented when designing supports for people with TBI. Further research is necessary to fully understand the relationship between images and message type.