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Ana Julia Moreira, Nathalie Herbeth, Nathalie Le Hir, Laurent Sparrow; Attentional capture by non-biologically relevant stimuli: an illustration with car stimuli. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1011. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1011.
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Studies based on reaction time have shown that highly relevant stimuli (threatening, important to survival) have a facilitating effect on the attentional system (Brosch, Sander, & Scherer, 2007; Lipp & Derakshan, 2005). Saccadic velocity is related to the activation state in visual performance tasks (App & Debus, 1998), with peak velocity being the most sensitive parameter of the saccadic main sequence regarding attentional state variations (Di Stasi, Marchitto, Antolí, & Cañas, 2013). The goal of this study was to evaluate whether non-biologically relevant and familiar stimuli, such as car exteriors, could also evoke a significant attentional capture. Cars were divided in two types: concept (C; innovative design; non-commercialized cars) and non-concept (NC; commercialized cars), as studies have already shown that more innovative designs are cognitively more demanding (Carbon, Hutzler, & Minge, 2006). In a dot probe task, two cars were shown simultaneously for 500ms, followed by a dot, with participants having to push a button depending on which side the dot appeared on. In total, 55 colorless pictures, and with 3x3cm dimensions were presented. Participants were shown three lists: list 1 (NC and C cars mixed; 18 car pairs), and lists 2 and 3 (NC and C cars separately; 17 and 9 pairs respectively). Reaction times, electrodermal activity and eye movements were recorded. A questionnaire regarding exterior car appreciation was also administered. NC cars elicited higher mean electrodermal response and saccadic peak velocity than C cars. The lack of reaction time results shows that car exteriors are not biologically relevant stimuli. However, they are still important enough to evoke an attentional capture, which is sustained by significant electrodermal response and saccadic peak velocity results. An exploratory analysis also revealed significant differences regarding different car shapes.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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