ERIC Number: EJ788648
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Attention in Subitizing
Railo, Henry; Koivisto, Mika; Revonsuo, Antti; Hannula, Minna M.
Cognition, v107 n1 p82-104 Apr 2008
The process of rapidly and accurately enumerating small numbers of items without counting, i.e. subitizing, is often believed to rest on parallel preattentive processes. However, the possibility that enumeration of small numbers of items would also require attentional processes has remained an open question. The present study is the first that directly contrasts the preattentive and attentive models of subitizing. We used an inattentional blindness paradigm to manipulate the availability of attentional resources during enumeration. In the inattention condition, the items to be enumerated were presented unexpectedly while participants focused on a line length comparison task. Divided- and full-attention conditions were also included. The results showed that only numbers one and two could be enumerated when the effects of attention were minimized. Freeing attentional resources increased the enumeration accuracies considerably, including for number two. The results suggest that even for enumerating small numbers, the attentional demands increase as the number of objects increases.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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