Event Title

The Role of Closure in Object-based Attentional Selection

Mentor 1

Adam S. Greenberg

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

24-4-2015 2:30 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 3:45 PM

Description

Object-based attention (OBA) is one way in which we select visual information (and ignore distracting information) for detailed examination from the surrounding environment. During OBA, spatial locations are prioritized based on their relations to objects in the visual scene. Previous research has shown that OBA is employed when target items are located within closed object boundaries. However, it is unknown whether OBA is capable of selecting objects that are not fully closed. To study this, we manipulated a set of vertically oriented rectangles by removing the two short horizontal "connectors" that formed the top/bottom of each rectangle, thus disrupting cues of object closure. In Experiment 1, a vertical rectangle at screen center was flanked by four identical rectangles, 2 to the left and 2 to the right (rectangles condition). An exogenous spatial cue then appeared outside of either end of the central rectangle. A set of 10 target/distracter letters were presented, two letters in each rectangle (one on each end). One of these letters (the target) was colored green, the other nine (distracters) were white. Subjects performed a letter discrimination on the target. The central distracter was neutral, congruent, or incongruent with the target; and the flanking distracters were either congruent or incongruent with the target. In the lines condition, the horizontal "connectors" were removed, forming 10 parallel vertical lines. Results showed that flankers only have effects when the target and distracters lie on a contiguous region. In Experiment 2, the two conditions were no longer randomized across trials; subjects were now shown either lines or rectangles in continuous blocks. The data from both experiments show that object closure is a critical component of OBA. Attention was not “bound” to the object in the lines condition, allowing information in the periphery to influence performance on the central target. However, during the rectangles condition, attention was more restricted to the closed central object, preventing information in the periphery from influencing performance on the central target. These results suggest that small changes in the visual features of an object can cause large changes in how attention selects information, and ultimately how we perceive our visual world.

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Apr 24th, 2:30 PM Apr 24th, 3:45 PM

The Role of Closure in Object-based Attentional Selection

Union Wisconsin Room

Object-based attention (OBA) is one way in which we select visual information (and ignore distracting information) for detailed examination from the surrounding environment. During OBA, spatial locations are prioritized based on their relations to objects in the visual scene. Previous research has shown that OBA is employed when target items are located within closed object boundaries. However, it is unknown whether OBA is capable of selecting objects that are not fully closed. To study this, we manipulated a set of vertically oriented rectangles by removing the two short horizontal "connectors" that formed the top/bottom of each rectangle, thus disrupting cues of object closure. In Experiment 1, a vertical rectangle at screen center was flanked by four identical rectangles, 2 to the left and 2 to the right (rectangles condition). An exogenous spatial cue then appeared outside of either end of the central rectangle. A set of 10 target/distracter letters were presented, two letters in each rectangle (one on each end). One of these letters (the target) was colored green, the other nine (distracters) were white. Subjects performed a letter discrimination on the target. The central distracter was neutral, congruent, or incongruent with the target; and the flanking distracters were either congruent or incongruent with the target. In the lines condition, the horizontal "connectors" were removed, forming 10 parallel vertical lines. Results showed that flankers only have effects when the target and distracters lie on a contiguous region. In Experiment 2, the two conditions were no longer randomized across trials; subjects were now shown either lines or rectangles in continuous blocks. The data from both experiments show that object closure is a critical component of OBA. Attention was not “bound” to the object in the lines condition, allowing information in the periphery to influence performance on the central target. However, during the rectangles condition, attention was more restricted to the closed central object, preventing information in the periphery from influencing performance on the central target. These results suggest that small changes in the visual features of an object can cause large changes in how attention selects information, and ultimately how we perceive our visual world.