September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
The Attentional Blink when viewing Natural vs. Urban Scenes
Author Affiliations
  • Brandon Eich
    Louisiana State University
  • Melissa R. Beck
    Louisiana State University
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2717. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.2717
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      Brandon Eich, Melissa R. Beck; The Attentional Blink when viewing Natural vs. Urban Scenes. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2717. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.2717.

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

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Abstract

The current study aimed to identify how the allocation of attention when viewing natural vs. urban scenes impacts the attentional blink. Previous research has found that natural scenes produce a broader allocation of attention, allowing attention to spread across an image and potentially use less cognitive resources. Urban scenes, on the other hand, produce a narrowed allocation of attention, potentially allowing more efficient encoding of relevant information and inhibition of irrelevant information. Participants in Experiment 1 viewed a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of 16 images from either a natural or urban scene category, where two target scenes were in color and the rest of the scenes were in greyscale. An attentional blink was evident by reduced accuracy for reporting a second target that occurred two or three scenes after the first, given that the first target was accurately reported. The attentional blink was reduced for urban scenes compared to natural scenes, suggesting that the difference in scene type contributes to more efficient allocation of attention for urban scenes. To test whether this difference in the size of the attentional blink is accompanied by a difference in spread of attention between scene types, Experiment 2 used a similar RSVP task to Experiment 1 but added a peripheral target detection task. A black dot was placed around the corner of some of the images and participants reported at the end of each trial if a dot was present or not. Dots were better detected for natural scene trials, suggesting that participants have a broader spread of attention for natural scenes. The current results suggest that urban scenes lead to a narrowed attention allocation that allowed participants to more efficiently prioritize and identify targets compared to a broad spread of attention when viewing natural scenes.

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