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Bruce Bridgeman, Cassidy Sterling; Spatially selective visual attention in the real world. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):920. doi: 10.1167/12.9.920.
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Most experiments on attention use impoverished stimuli – disembodied letters, numbers or simple shapes displayed on a blank background - ignoring the possible influence a richly detailed scene might have on attentional processes. In our study photographs of objects were set within a contextually relevant background. Participants used covert attention to identify the target among distractors and responded to a subsequent probe presented randomly. Faster reaction times for probes at object locations (target & distractor) compared to background locations were found regardless of distance from the target. Participants were able to flexibly distribute their attention, facilitating multiple, non-contiguous locations where a target might appear while inhibiting all background locations equally.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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