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Working memory load disrupts gaze-cued orienting of attention.

Bobak AK, Langton SR - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: A controversial issue surrounds the extent to which this gaze-cued orienting effect is stimulus-driven, or is under a degree of top-down control.In two experiments we show that the gaze-cued orienting effect is disrupted by a concurrent task that has been shown to place high demands on executive resources: random number generation (RNG).RNG was also found to interfere with gaze-cued orienting in Experiment 2 where participants performed a speeded letter identification response.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling , Stirling, UK.

ABSTRACT
A large body of work has shown that a perceived gaze shift produces a shift in a viewer's spatial attention in the direction of the seen gaze. A controversial issue surrounds the extent to which this gaze-cued orienting effect is stimulus-driven, or is under a degree of top-down control. In two experiments we show that the gaze-cued orienting effect is disrupted by a concurrent task that has been shown to place high demands on executive resources: random number generation (RNG). In Experiment 1 participants were faster to locate targets that appeared in gaze-cued locations relative to targets that appeared in locations opposite to those indicated by the gaze shifts, while simultaneously and continuously reciting aloud the digits 1-9 in order; however, this gaze-cueing effect was eliminated when participants continuously recited the same digits in a random order. RNG was also found to interfere with gaze-cued orienting in Experiment 2 where participants performed a speeded letter identification response. Together, these data suggest that gaze-cued orienting is actually under top-down control. We argue that top-down signals sustain a goal to shift attention in response to gazes, such that orienting ordinarily occurs when they are perceived; however, the goal cannot always be maintained when concurrent, multiple, competing goals are simultaneously active in working memory.

No MeSH data available.


Example trial sequence from Experiment 1 (not drawn to sale).
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Figure 1: Example trial sequence from Experiment 1 (not drawn to sale).

Mentions: An example of a gaze cueing trial is illustrated in Figure 1. All trials began with a fixation cross displayed on the screen for 1000 ms. This was followed by a directly gazing face for 750 ms after which the gaze shifted to the left or right. The gaze cue was displayed for either 300 ms or 1000 ms before the onset of the target stimulus (i.e., the SOA). The gaze cue was non-predictive of the location (i.e., 50% cued and 50% uncued trials). Both the cue and the target remained on screen until response. Participants were asked to press the right foremost button on the serial box for targets appearing on the right side of the face and the left foremost button for targets appearing on the left.


Working memory load disrupts gaze-cued orienting of attention.

Bobak AK, Langton SR - Front Psychol (2015)

Example trial sequence from Experiment 1 (not drawn to sale).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4547003&req=5

Figure 1: Example trial sequence from Experiment 1 (not drawn to sale).
Mentions: An example of a gaze cueing trial is illustrated in Figure 1. All trials began with a fixation cross displayed on the screen for 1000 ms. This was followed by a directly gazing face for 750 ms after which the gaze shifted to the left or right. The gaze cue was displayed for either 300 ms or 1000 ms before the onset of the target stimulus (i.e., the SOA). The gaze cue was non-predictive of the location (i.e., 50% cued and 50% uncued trials). Both the cue and the target remained on screen until response. Participants were asked to press the right foremost button on the serial box for targets appearing on the right side of the face and the left foremost button for targets appearing on the left.

Bottom Line: A controversial issue surrounds the extent to which this gaze-cued orienting effect is stimulus-driven, or is under a degree of top-down control.In two experiments we show that the gaze-cued orienting effect is disrupted by a concurrent task that has been shown to place high demands on executive resources: random number generation (RNG).RNG was also found to interfere with gaze-cued orienting in Experiment 2 where participants performed a speeded letter identification response.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling , Stirling, UK.

ABSTRACT
A large body of work has shown that a perceived gaze shift produces a shift in a viewer's spatial attention in the direction of the seen gaze. A controversial issue surrounds the extent to which this gaze-cued orienting effect is stimulus-driven, or is under a degree of top-down control. In two experiments we show that the gaze-cued orienting effect is disrupted by a concurrent task that has been shown to place high demands on executive resources: random number generation (RNG). In Experiment 1 participants were faster to locate targets that appeared in gaze-cued locations relative to targets that appeared in locations opposite to those indicated by the gaze shifts, while simultaneously and continuously reciting aloud the digits 1-9 in order; however, this gaze-cueing effect was eliminated when participants continuously recited the same digits in a random order. RNG was also found to interfere with gaze-cued orienting in Experiment 2 where participants performed a speeded letter identification response. Together, these data suggest that gaze-cued orienting is actually under top-down control. We argue that top-down signals sustain a goal to shift attention in response to gazes, such that orienting ordinarily occurs when they are perceived; however, the goal cannot always be maintained when concurrent, multiple, competing goals are simultaneously active in working memory.

No MeSH data available.