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ERIC Number: EJ899690
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 76
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
The Spatial Focus of Attention Is Controlled at Perceptual and Cognitive Levels
Caparos, Serge; Linnell, Karina J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v36 n5 p1080-1107 Oct 2010
Selective attention has been hypothesized to reduce distractor interference at both perceptual and postperceptual levels (Lavie, 2005), respectively, by focusing perceptual resources on the attended location and by blocking at postperceptual levels distractors that survive perceptual selection. This study measured the impact of load on these selection mechanisms using a flanker paradigm (Eriksen & St. James, 1986) and indexing distractor interference as a function of separation. It distinguished changes in the "extent of focus" of the distractor-interference function of separation (reflecting perceptual selection) from changes in the amplitude of distractor interference "not accompanied" by changes in focus (reflecting postperceptual selection). It showed that: (1) the spatial profile of perceptual resources is shaped like a "Mexican hat" (Muller et al., 2005); (2) increasing perceptual load "focuses" perceptual resources (Caparos & Linnell, 2009); (3) increasing cognitive load "defocuses" perceptual resources; and (4) participants with reduced working-memory span show reduced postperceptual blocking of distractors. While these findings are consistent with two levels of selective attention, they show that the first perceptual level is affected not only by perceptual but also by cognitive-control mechanisms. (Contains 16 figures and 7 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (London)