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ERIC Number: EJ993017
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Object-Based Attention Overrides Perceptual Load to Modulate Visual Distraction
Cosman, Joshua D.; Vecera, Shaun P.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v38 n3 p576-579 Jun 2012
The ability to ignore task-irrelevant information and overcome distraction is central to our ability to efficiently carry out a number of tasks. One factor shown to strongly influence distraction is the perceptual load of the task being performed; as the perceptual load of task-relevant information processing increases, the likelihood that task-irrelevant information will be processed and interfere with task performance decreases. However, it has also been demonstrated that other attentional factors play an important role in whether or not distracting information affects performance. Specifically, object-based attention can modulate the extent of distractor processing, leaving open the possibility that object-based attention mechanisms may directly modulate the way in which perceptual load affects distractor processing. Here, we show that object-based attention dominates perceptual load to determine the extent of task-irrelevant information processing, with distractors affecting performance only when they are contained within the same object as the task-relevant search display. These results suggest that object-based attention effects play a central role in selective attention regardless of the perceptual load of the task being performed. (Contains 2 figures and 1 footnote.)
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: Iowa