The Influence of Multiple Cues on Attentional Capture

Carroll, Michael (2007). The Influence of Multiple Cues on Attentional Capture PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, University of Queensland.

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Author Carroll, Michael
Thesis Title The Influence of Multiple Cues on Attentional Capture
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Abstract/Summary Laboratory-based research into understanding how the capture of visual attentional occurs has been restricted by how representative test stimuli are of real-world visual events. While visual scenes nearly always contain multiple potential attention-capturing stimuli, empirical research utilising a cuing task has generally examined attentional capture by only single cues. To address this shortcoming, and to progress visual attentional capture research closer to representing real-world visual events, the experimental series of this thesis was conducted with the focus being the examination of the influence (if any) of multiple element stimuli on visual attentional capture. Four sets of experiments were conducted, based upon the established Folk, Remington, and Johnston (1992) visual cuing paradigm, with the central thesis focusing on the influence of featurally defined and manipulated multiple (dual) element cues on visual attentional capture. The cuing paradigm approach was selected owing to its capacity to present multipleelement featurally defined capture stimuli of interest that were temporally separate from feature-defined task targets. While both of these display components were presented within the same trial, the capture stimuli appeared on their own just prior to target exposure. Separate presentation of these trial components allowed a clear distinction between involuntary attentional capture events and the voluntary target identification task. The featural manipulation capacity of the approach also allowed establishment and examination of artificial (i.e., laboratory-based) featural attentional sets, giving the “multiple element” focus of this thesis the potential to help resolve debate regarding the contribution of top-down versus bottom-up processes in visual capture events. Collectively, the experiments produced three main conclusions relating to the visual attentional capture process: (1) Multiple-element stimuli viewed within a scene captured attention differently from lone-element stimuli; (2) The relative salience of the components of those stimuli, with respect to each other and to other sources of visual information within the scene, strongly influenced capture outcomes; (3) Scene complexity that was heightened, whether by multiple stimuli or stimulus types, was more likely to see top-down involvement imparting an influence. These conclusions are discussed in the context of this thesis, and with regards to their relevance to current visual attentional capture understanding. Experimental and interpretational limitations are considered, followed by recommendations for expansion of this research approach into further laboratory-based examinations, and into applied visual attention capturing scenarios.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 16:23:28 EST