December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Is There One “Beam” of Attention for Searching in Space and Time?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Raymond Klein
    Dalhousie University
  • Brett Feltmate
    Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Yoko Ishigami
    Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville
  • Nicholas Murray
    Department of Cognitive Linguistic and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 4106. doi:
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      Raymond Klein, Brett Feltmate, Yoko Ishigami, Nicholas Murray; Is There One “Beam” of Attention for Searching in Space and Time?. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):4106.

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

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In their pure forms, searching in space entails the allocation of attention to items distributed in space and presented at the same time whereas searching in time entails the allocation of attention to items distributed in time and presented at the same location. In two quite independent projects we have explored whether the metaphorical “beams” operating the domains of space and time might be independent or the same. In one project we used a differential approach. Early research using spatial (Snyder, 1972) and temporal search tasks (McLean, Broadbent & Broadbent, 1983) reported a substantial degree of sloppiness (binding errors). We had participants perform both of these tasks to see if the frequency of these binding errors in the domains of space and time might be correlated. We replicated both early findings of binding errors in space and in time, but their frequency of occurrence in the two domains was not significantly correlated. In the other project, we used an experimental approach. Here we explored whether the principles described by Duncan & Humphreys (1989; hereafter D&H) for searching in space would apply similarly to searching in time. Not surprisingly, performance in spatial search conformed to the predictions of D&H's principles. Importantly, temporal search performance followed the same pattern, suggesting that D&H’s principles are indeed generalizable to temporal search. We will speculate on why these two approaches seem to yield different answers to the question posed in our title.


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