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ERIC Number: EJ884791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0033-295X
Postscript: Split Spatial Attention? The Data Remain Difficult to Interpret
Jans, Bert; Peters, Judith C.; De Weerd, Peter
Psychological Review, v117 n2 p682-684 Apr 2010
A growing number of studies claim that spatial attention can be split "on demand" into several, segregated foci of enhanced processing. Intrigued by the theoretical ramifications of this proposal, we analyzed 19 relevant sets of experiments using four methodological criteria. We typically found several methodological limitations in each study that precluded convincing conclusions. Cave, Bush and Taylor, however, find our criteria unnecessarily constraining and suggest that we have a theoretical bias that prevented us from considering valid evidence for divided spatial attention. Discussing the existence of split spatial attention in the context of real-life examples and theoretical models has its limits. The question can be settled empirically by excluding unified spatial attention in experiments testing divided spatial attention. Where to place attentional probes relative to targets to exclude unified attention (Criterion 4) is central to the debate we have with Cave et al. We propose that with dense enough probing of attention, a single experiment can exclude all nonunitary attention distributions and reveal any attention distribution irrespective of theoretical preconceptions. This is not an impossible ambition, and until such experiments are performed, current evidence on the division of spatial attention will remain difficult to interpret.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A