July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Biased attention near one's own but not another's hand
Author Affiliations
  • Hsin-Mei Sun
    Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University
  • Laura Thomas
    Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 347. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.347
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      Hsin-Mei Sun, Laura Thomas; Biased attention near one's own but not another's hand. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):347. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.347.

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

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Attention is prioritized for the space near the hand, leading to rapid detection of visual targets appearing close to one’s own hand (Reed, Grubb, & Steele, 2006). We examined whether observers are also facilitated in detecting targets presented near another person’s hand. Given that paying attention to a partner’s hands is important for the successful coordination of joint actions (e.g., Sebanz, Bekkering, & Knoblich, 2006), we hypothesized that observers might also prioritize the space near another person’s hand. In Experiment 1, participants performed a Posner cueing task while sitting next to a friend. Participants detected a peripheral target appearing to the left or right of a central fixation after a highly predictive visual cue. Across blocks, either the participant or the friend placed a hand next to one of the target locations. We also included a no-hand condition in which both the participant and friend sat with their hands away from the screen. The results showed that participants detected targets appearing near their own hands more quickly than targets appearing away from their hands. However, participants were no faster to detect targets appearing near a friend’s hands than targets appearing in the no-hand condition. In Experiment 2, we increased the visual similarity between hands by having participants and their friends wear the same rubber gloves. Again, participants were facilitated in detecting targets near their own hands, but not near their friend’s hands. Therefore, although joint attention is important for action coordination, the mere presence of another person’s hand is not sufficient to bias attention. In sum, our data support the notion that space near one’s own hand is prioritized for attention. However, the effect of hand proximity on spatial attention is specific to one’s own hand but not another’s hand.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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