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Perceptual load and the capture of spatial attention by color singletons

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10318

Perceptual load and the capture of spatial attention by color singletons

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Title: Perceptual load and the capture of spatial attention by color singletons
Author: Gaspelin, Nicholas
Advisor(s): Ruthruff, Eric
Committee Member(s): Butler, Karin
Goldsmith, Tim
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Psychology
Subject(s): Perceptual Load
Attention
Color Singleton
Capture
LC Subject(s): Visual discrimination.
Space perception.
Distraction (Psychology)
Attention.
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: Recent experiments have cast considerable doubt upon the ability of color singletons to capture spatial attention in a stimulus-driven manner. Despite the lack of evidence for it in the laboratory, there are many anecdotal reports of stimulus-driven capture in real-world settings. Perhaps a critical difference between laboratory and real-world visual scenes is the amount of relevant information, or perceptual load. Scenes with low perceptual load (as when one is focused on a single visual object) might free attentional resources, allowing them to be more easily captured by color singletons. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated perceptual load in a visual search task with irrelevant flanking letters that were sometimes color singletons. If reduced perceptual load increases susceptibility to capture by color singletons, then the presence of a color singleton should slow responses and increase flanker-target compatibility effects. Contrary to this prediction, we found no evidence of capture under high or low perceptual load.
Graduation Date: December 2009
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10318

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