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Philip Tseng, Bruce Bridgeman; Information at hand is detected better in change detection. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):209. doi: 10.1167/10.7.209.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Recent studies have suggested an altered visual processing for objects that are near the hands; visual search rates were slower when an observer's hands were near the display, which was interpreted as a result of a detailed evaluation of objects. Slower reaction times, however, can also arise from a number of inhibitory processes and therefore do not warrant the claim of a detailed visual analysis. Here we present two experiments that use a change detection paradigm to test this claim. While performing a change detection task, observers placed their hands either vertically or horizontally on the frame of the display, or away from the display. When their hands were on the display, change detection performance was more accurate and they held more items in visual short term memory. Both vertical and horizontal hand positions were facilitative, but vertically-placed hands elicited a robust enhancement that was resistant to task difficulty. Gains in hit rate were equal in magnitude across all regions, regardless of distances from the hands, suggesting that the extensive analysis is non-specific in nature. Together, our accuracy data provide concrete evidence for an enhanced visual analysis of objects near the hands.
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