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Kevin C. Dieter, Aaron Levi, Daphne Bavelier, Duje Tadin; Enhanced Attentional Control of Binocular Rivalry in Action Video Game Players. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):680. doi: 10.1167/12.9.680.
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Attention serves a crucial role in a wide range of visual functions, allowing for the selective and enhanced processing of attended stimuli. Recent research indicates that attention can also modulate dynamics of binocular rivalry (reviewed in Dieter & Tadin 2011; Paffen & Alais 2011). Intriguingly, one consistent finding is that observers are unable to voluntarily bias alternations in favor one of the rival stimuli (Meng & Tong 2004) unless they are performing a demanding attentional task (Chong et al. 2005). One possible explanation of this finding is that typical observers have little experience voluntarily selecting between monocular representations and are generally poor at attentional control over early visual processes, especially in the absence of a behaviorally relevant task (Dieter & Tadin 2011). Given this hypothesis, it is possible that individuals who have a great deal of attentional training may overcome this limitation in attentional control of rivalry. One such group is action video game players (VGPs), who show a multitude of benefits in visual attention (Bavelier et al., 2011). We tested experienced VGPs and subjects who had no experience with action video games (NVGP) in a battery of binocular rivalry tasks. Individuals either (1) passively viewed rivalry, (2) attempted to hold one of the two rival images dominant as long as possible, or (3) completed a demanding behavioral task on one of the rival images. Results showed that VGPs were able to increase the predominance of the attended rival target even in the absence of a behavioral task (p <0.01). In addition, the magnitude of attentional control while performing a demanding behavioral task was greater in VGPs than NVGPs (p<0.01). Taken together, these results demonstrate that extensive training of attentional mechanisms can lead to increased voluntary control over binocular rivalry dynamics.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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