August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Does the size of the attentional window influence encoding of hierarchical stimuli?
Author Affiliations
  • Steven Schultz
    Psychology, University of South Florida
  • Thomas Sanocki
    Psychology, University of South Florida
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 901. doi:
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      Steven Schultz, Thomas Sanocki; Does the size of the attentional window influence encoding of hierarchical stimuli?. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):901.

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

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How does the focus of attention influence the encoding of information? Research has shown that size and allocation of the attentional window has an influence on what information is attended to or missed. The size-scale of features effects processing of visual information. Previous research involving hierarchical stimuli (i.e. Navon letters) suggests precedence for global features. In the present experiment, we investigated the influence of attentional window size on accuracy of encoding hierarchical stimuli at the global and local level. Here we introduce a new method for manipulating the size of the attentional window and for collecting unconstrained responses. At the start of each trial, observers tracked a dashed-line rectangular box, which either broadened or narrowed in size after onset. This sequence was immediately followed by a brief presentation of two hierarchical letters presented simultaneously on the left and right sides of the screen (150 ms). The box preceding the hierarchical letters either broadened to a size large enough to include both letters at the global level, or narrowed to a size small enough to include a maximum of two letters at the local level at either side of the screen. Observers reported all letters they were able to identify. Results indicate an overall precedence of global letters. However, a narrow attentional window reduced global precedence, as would be expected with more focused attention. The narrow windows also produced more same-side identifications of both global and local letters. Additional analyses will examine dependencies between global and local perception.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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