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Kevin Dent; Enhanced filtering by motion in visual search: The case of action video-game play. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):920. doi: 10.1167/14.10.920.
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Movement is a powerful cue for the guidance of attention. Search through moving and stationary objects may be restricted to the moving group. However, it is sometimes difficult to guide search by movement independently of other features in the display. Thus when a moving target differs in colour from moving distractors but shares colour with static distractors, it becomes difficult to find (Dent, Braithwaite, & Humphreys, 2011). This finding has been attributed to the target inheriting low attentional priority from the linked static items. The current study investigated how experience with action video-games impacts the ability to use movement independently of colour to guide search. In the motion-segmentation condition participants searched for a moving target (Z or N) amongst moving O and stationary Z and N distractors. The moving and stationary distractors were always coloured differently. Critically the target shared colour with either the moving or stationary distractors. This motion-segmentation condition was compared against a baseline presenting only the moving items. Experiment 1 compared action video-game players against non-players. While the non-players showed a cost when the target shared colour with the static distractors in the motion-segmentation condition, the video-game players did not. Experiment 2 trained two groups of participants to play either a puzzle game (Tetris) or an action game (Halo) for 14 hours. While both groups of participants were initially slower to identify targets sharing colour with the static distractors, the effect was eliminated by action video-game training, with only the Tetris players continuing to show this effect post-training. Action video-game play thus appears to enhance the ability to use motion independently of colour to filter out distractors in search. Dent, K., Humphreys, G.W., & Braithwaite, J.J. (2011). Spreading suppression and the guidance of search by movement: Evidence from negative color carry-over effects. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 690-696.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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