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Perceptual load vs. dilution: the roles of attentional focus, stimulus category, and target predictability.

Chen Z, Cave KR - Front Psychol (2013)

Bottom Line: Display set size did not affect the degree of distractor processing in all situations.Increasing the number of neutral items decreased distractor processing only when a task induced a broad attentional focus that included the neutral stimuli, when the neutral stimuli were in the same category as the target and distractor, and when the preknowledge of the target was insufficient to guide attention to the target efficiently.These results suggest that the effect of neutral stimuli on the degree of distractor processing is more complex than previously assumed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand.

ABSTRACT
Many studies have shown that increasing the number of neutral stimuli in a display decreases distractor interference. This result has been interpreted within two different frameworks; a perceptual load account, based on a reduction in spare resources, and a dilution account, based on a degradation in distractor representation and/or an increase in crosstalk between the distractor and the neutral stimuli that contain visually similar features. In four experiments, we systematically manipulated the extent of attentional focus, stimulus category, and preknowledge of the target to examine how these factors would interact with the display set size to influence the degree of distractor processing. Display set size did not affect the degree of distractor processing in all situations. Increasing the number of neutral items decreased distractor processing only when a task induced a broad attentional focus that included the neutral stimuli, when the neutral stimuli were in the same category as the target and distractor, and when the preknowledge of the target was insufficient to guide attention to the target efficiently. These results suggest that the effect of neutral stimuli on the degree of distractor processing is more complex than previously assumed. They provide new insight into the competitive interactions between bottom-up and top-down processes that govern the efficiency of visual selective attention.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Examples of cue displays and target displays from Experiment 2. Note that the appearance of the target display is signaled by luminance decrement.
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Figure 3: Examples of cue displays and target displays from Experiment 2. Note that the appearance of the target display is signaled by luminance decrement.

Mentions: In Experiment 2, we replaced luminance increment with luminance decrement so that the target locations in the cue display and the appearance of the letters in the target display were both signaled via luminance decrease instead of luminance increase (see Figure 3). Because luminance decrement is less likely to capture attention than luminance increment (Yantis and Jonides, 1984), the appearance of the target display should be less likely to affect the extent of attentional focus induced by the cue, allowing the attentional focus to be determined more by the manipulation in CueSize.


Perceptual load vs. dilution: the roles of attentional focus, stimulus category, and target predictability.

Chen Z, Cave KR - Front Psychol (2013)

Examples of cue displays and target displays from Experiment 2. Note that the appearance of the target display is signaled by luminance decrement.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3675768&req=5

Figure 3: Examples of cue displays and target displays from Experiment 2. Note that the appearance of the target display is signaled by luminance decrement.
Mentions: In Experiment 2, we replaced luminance increment with luminance decrement so that the target locations in the cue display and the appearance of the letters in the target display were both signaled via luminance decrease instead of luminance increase (see Figure 3). Because luminance decrement is less likely to capture attention than luminance increment (Yantis and Jonides, 1984), the appearance of the target display should be less likely to affect the extent of attentional focus induced by the cue, allowing the attentional focus to be determined more by the manipulation in CueSize.

Bottom Line: Display set size did not affect the degree of distractor processing in all situations.Increasing the number of neutral items decreased distractor processing only when a task induced a broad attentional focus that included the neutral stimuli, when the neutral stimuli were in the same category as the target and distractor, and when the preknowledge of the target was insufficient to guide attention to the target efficiently.These results suggest that the effect of neutral stimuli on the degree of distractor processing is more complex than previously assumed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand.

ABSTRACT
Many studies have shown that increasing the number of neutral stimuli in a display decreases distractor interference. This result has been interpreted within two different frameworks; a perceptual load account, based on a reduction in spare resources, and a dilution account, based on a degradation in distractor representation and/or an increase in crosstalk between the distractor and the neutral stimuli that contain visually similar features. In four experiments, we systematically manipulated the extent of attentional focus, stimulus category, and preknowledge of the target to examine how these factors would interact with the display set size to influence the degree of distractor processing. Display set size did not affect the degree of distractor processing in all situations. Increasing the number of neutral items decreased distractor processing only when a task induced a broad attentional focus that included the neutral stimuli, when the neutral stimuli were in the same category as the target and distractor, and when the preknowledge of the target was insufficient to guide attention to the target efficiently. These results suggest that the effect of neutral stimuli on the degree of distractor processing is more complex than previously assumed. They provide new insight into the competitive interactions between bottom-up and top-down processes that govern the efficiency of visual selective attention.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus