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ERIC Number: EJ860065
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 90
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Attentional Mechanisms in Simple Visual Detection: A Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off Analysis
Liu, Charles C.; Wolfgang, Bradley J.; Smith, Philip L.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v35 n5 p1329-1345 Oct 2009
Recent spatial cuing studies have shown that detection sensitivity can be increased by the allocation of attention. This increase has been attributed to one of two mechanisms: signal enhancement or uncertainty reduction. Signal enhancement is an increase in the signal-to-noise ratio at the cued location; uncertainty reduction is a reduction in the uncertainty associated with the location of the target. In displays with low uncertainty, cuing effects are typically found only if targets are backwardly masked. This phenomenon is known as the mask-dependent cuing effect. This effect was investigated in four experiments using the response signal paradigm, which controlled for speed-accuracy tradeoffs. For unmasked targets, cues failed to improve detection accuracy when uncertainty was absent (Experiment 1), but large cuing effects were obtained when uncertainty was present (Experiment 2). For masked targets, stronger cuing effects were obtained with a backward pattern mask (Experiment 3) than with a simultaneous noise mask (Experiment 4). We conclude that the cuing effects in simple detection with well-localized targets are due to a dynamic signal enhancement mechanism. (Contains 4 footnotes and 7 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia