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ERIC Number: EJ1007116
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Distractor Inhibition: Principles of Operation during Selective Attention
Wyatt, Natalie; Machado, Liana
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v39 n1 p245-256 Feb 2013
Research suggests that although target amplification acts as the main determinant of the efficacy of selective attention, distractor inhibition contributes under some circumstances. Here we aimed to gain insight into the operating principles that regulate the use of distractor inhibition during selective attention. The results suggest that, in contrast to target amplification, distractor inhibition does not onset earlier or strengthen in response to advance location information. Instead, when the location of the impending distractor was predictable, evidence of inhibitory processing weakened. Furthermore, the results suggest that distractor inhibition does not operate as a compensatory mechanism for target amplification, as evidenced by the lack of an increase in inhibitory effects when reliance on target amplification was disrupted. Unexpected emergence of inhibitory effects for improbable targets provided evidence that distractor inhibition was at work even when no inhibitory effects manifested. Overall, the pattern of inhibitory effects is interpreted as indicating that, although distractor inhibition mounts primarily reactively rather than preemptively, advance information can help prevent overreaction to the distractor. Of course, less overreaction reduces the chances of behavioral inhibitory effects manifesting even when distractor inhibition has contributed to selective attention; thus, interpreting an absence of inhibitory effects should be done cautiously. (Contains 1 figure, 2 tables 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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A