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ERIC Number: EJ835045
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 35
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 137
ISSN: ISSN-0033-295X
An Integrated Theory of Attention and Decision Making in Visual Signal Detection
Smith, Philip L.; Ratcliff, Roger
Psychological Review, v116 n2 p283-317 Apr 2009
The simplest attentional task, detecting a cued stimulus in an otherwise empty visual field, produces complex patterns of performance. Attentional cues interact with backward masks and with spatial uncertainty, and there is a dissociation in the effects of these variables on accuracy and on response time. A computational theory of performance in this task is described. The theory links visual encoding, masking, spatial attention, visual short-term memory (VSTM), and perceptual decision making in an integrated dynamic framework. The theory assumes that decisions are made by a diffusion process driven by a neurally plausible, shunting VSTM. The VSTM trace encodes the transient outputs of early visual filters in a durable form that is preserved for the time needed to make a decision. Attention increases the efficiency of VSTM encoding, either by increasing the rate of trace formation or by reducing the delay before trace formation begins. The theory provides a detailed, quantitative account of attentional effects in spatial cuing tasks at the level of response accuracy and the response time distributions. (Contains 18 figures, 7 tables, and 10 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A