August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Vision for stimuli on the hands: Evidence for an attentional boundary
Author Affiliations
  • J. Eric T. Taylor
    Purdue University
  • Jessica K. Witt
    Purdue University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 545. doi:
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      J. Eric T. Taylor, Jessica K. Witt; Vision for stimuli on the hands: Evidence for an attentional boundary. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):545.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The space around our hands is perceptually distinct from the area beyond our grasp. Recent studies have shown that attention is enhanced for this space. This enhanced attentional processing manifests in slower disengagement (Abrams et al., 2008) and facilitated detection (Reed et al., 2006). These studies and others like them have shown how attention for stimuli close to the hands operates in a qualitatively different manner from attention for stimuli away from the hands. It has been argued that the space near the hands is perceptually privileged because of its potential relevance for action. In the studies presented here, we considered how attention might work for stimuli appearing on the body. These stimuli are no longer potentially relevant – they are relevant. Accordingly, we predicted that there may be qualitative differences in attentional processes for stimuli on the hands versus stimuli appearing near the hands. We present studies supporting this hypothesis. Across three experiments, we show that there is a cost to shifting attention across the body boundary. First, we show that shifting attention from near the hand to on hand – or vice versa – is very costly. In a second experiment, we show that this cost is also incurred for shifting attention from hand to hand. Finally, in an adapted flanker task, we show that incongruent flankers appearing on the body do not inhibit processing of a target appearing off the body. These results imply the existence of a new attentional boundary at the surface of the body.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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