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Misong Kim, Soojin Lee, Hoon Choi; Effects of the number of distractor types on attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):685. doi: 10.1167/17.10.685.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
One of the most famous visual phenomena that reflect capacity limitation in temporal attention is attentional blink (AB), a deficit in identifying the second target in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) when it is presented within 200–500 ms after presentation of the first target. A number of studies have explored various factors that affect AB, most of which were related to the targets. By contrast, we would like to focus on the natures of distractors. In the current study, we were interested in the effects of the number of distractor types. In the pilot experiment, we tried to check the difficulty levels of distractor types in terms of discriminability between targets and distractors. Four types of distractors (Japanese character, Chinese character, Korean character, and symbol) were employed, while a single type of target (a number) was used. Each RSVP consisted of one type of target and one type of distractor. We compared the AB effects for each distractor type; we found that three types of distractors (except for the Korean character) had similar difficulty levels and employed these three in the main experiment. In the main experiment, we manipulated how many types of distractors were used in one RSVP. We varied the number of distractor types in an RSVP from one to three and then checked the AB effect. We had assumed that more distractor types would need more attentional resources, resulting in more substantial AB effects. The actual results, however, showed the opposite: AB increased when one type of distractor was employed in an RSVP. This result suggests that distractor heterogeneity may enhance our performance in temporal attention tasks, which is inconsistent with previous studies of spatial attention.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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