The effect of noise on visual search in simple and complex displays

Jessica Luu (2011). The effect of noise on visual search in simple and complex displays Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Jessica Luu
Thesis Title The effect of noise on visual search in simple and complex displays
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Professor Roger Remington
Total pages 41
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary People search the visual world frequently to find friends, luggage, or terminals at the airport. The efficiency of the search determines how long it will take to find the desired object, and can be critical in certain occupations. In applied settings (such as airport baggage screening), search is typically conducted in noisy backgrounds. The current experiment investigates the effect of moderate levels of noise on search efficiency. Two hypotheses regarding the effects of noise were tested. The attentional window hypothesis suggests that noise will have a deficit on search performance during a simple task (with a low perceptual load) where the window will shrink to avoid an information overload. However, in the difficult task (high perceptual load), no deficit will be observed due to the attentional window already functioning at its minimal size. The limited capacity hypothesis suggests that a deficit in performance will occur in the difficult task where there are fewer resources available to be allocated to the search task. No deficit will be observed in the simple task where enough resources are available. Neither hypothesis received support from the data. The primary effect of noise was to reduce the number of items searched on target-absent displays. This suggests that noise may lead to an earlier termination of search. Future research could investigate the effects of different volumes and types of noise (such as crying infants, overhead planes etc.) on low event search tasks to further the understanding of this important extraneous factor.
Keyword Effect of noise
Visual search

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Created: Wed, 20 Jun 2012, 11:04:50 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology