Location and attention

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A discrepancy exists in the literature concerning attention and visual localization accuracy. Prinzmetal, Amiri, Allen, and Edwards (1998), and Tsal and Bareket (1999a) found that localization accuracy increases with attention. Using an inattention paradigm, Rock, Linnett, Grant, and Mack (1992) found no difference between localization accuracy in three attention conditions: inattention, divided attention, and control. Using a similar inattention paradigm, the current study addressed this discrepancy. Subjects were instructed to perform a line judgement task, and attention for an additional location task was manipulated. In Experiment 1, location accuracy was worse in the inattention condition than in either the dividedattention or the control condition. There was no difference between the divided-attention and control conditions. Experiment 2 controlled for the possibility that improved location accuracy in the divided and control conditions was due to the expectation of performing a location response, rather than the manipulation of attention. Our results are in agreement with previous findings (Prinzmetal et al., 1998; Tsal & Bareket, 1999a) and suggest that the apparent discrepancy is due to coarse coding of the location responses in the study by Rock et al. (1992).

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980042000066

Affiliations: University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, U.S.A.

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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