September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
The Depth of Executive Control: Investigating Working Memory, Inhibitory Control and Selective Attention in Multiple Depth Planes
Author Affiliations
  • Dawn Sarno
    Clemson University
  • Mark Neider
    University of Central Florida
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 1893. doi:
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      Dawn Sarno, Mark Neider; The Depth of Executive Control: Investigating Working Memory, Inhibitory Control and Selective Attention in Multiple Depth Planes. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):1893.

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

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Previous research demonstrates mixed results regarding the benefit of multiple depth planes on attention. However, no studies have explored how depth information influences executive control broadly. The present work examined the influence of depth on executive control by utilizing three visual tasks; change detection, flanker, and visual search. For the change detection task participants indicated if a cube changed colors with displays of either 2,4,6, or 8 items. In the flanker task participants indicated the direction of a central arrow, with two flanking arrows on either side that were either congruent or incongruent in direction. In the visual search task participants indicated if a target (T) was present amongst distractors (Ls), with either 8,16, or 32 items in the array. For all tasks, depth was manipulated by presenting all the items in the same depth plane or with items separate across multiple depth planes. For the visual search and change detection tasks there was a condition where items were evenly distributed across depth planes. There was an additional condition for the flanker and visual search task where the target was isolated in depth. There were no meaningful depth differences for the flanker task. Benefits for the two other tasks were only seen when the task was challenging (i.e., beyond capacity limits; largest set sizes). Specifically, participants in the change detection task demonstrated a ~7% accuracy benefit for the evenly distributed condition relative to one depth plane. In the visual search task participants were ~620 ms faster and ~12% more accurate when target was isolated in depth, and were still ~6% more accurate in the even distribution condition compared to when all the items where in one depth. Overall, these results suggest that organizing information by depth is useful for selective attention and working memory, but not necessarily for inhibitory control.


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