August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
How you use it matters: Object Function Guides Attention during Visual Search in Scenes
Author Affiliations
  • Monica Castelhano
    Queen's University
  • Qian Shi
    Queen's University
  • Richelle Witherspoon
    Queen's University
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 337. doi:
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      Monica Castelhano, Qian Shi, Richelle Witherspoon; How you use it matters: Object Function Guides Attention during Visual Search in Scenes . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):337.

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

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How do we know where to look for objects in scenes? While it is true that we see objects within a larger context daily, it is also true that we interact with and use objects for specific purposes (object function). Many researchers believe that visual processing is not an end in itself, but is in the service of some larger goal, like the performance of an action (Gibson, 1979). In addition, previous research has shown that the action performed with an object can affect visual perception (e.g., Gr├Ęzes & Decety, 2002; Triesch et al., 2003). Here, we examined whether object function can affect attentional guidance during search in scenes. In Experiment 1, participants studied either the function (Function Group) or features (Feature Group) of a set of invented objects. In a subsequent search, studied objects were located faster than novel objects for the Function, but not the Feature group. In Experiment 2 invented objects were positioned in either function-congruent or function-incongruent locations. Search for studied objects was faster for function-congruent and impaired for function-incongruent locations relative to novel objects. These findings demonstrate that knowledge of object function can guide attention in scenes. We discuss implications for theories of visual cognition, cognitive neuroscience, as well as developmental and ecological psychology.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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