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Attention shifts and memory averaging

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When observers are asked to localize the final position of a moving stimulus, judgements may be influenced by additional elements that are presented in the visual scene. Typically, judgements are biased toward a salient non-target element. It has been assumed that the non-target element acts as a landmark and attracts the remembered final target position. The present study investigated the effects of briefly flashed non-target elements on localization performance. Similar to landmark attraction, localization was biased toward these elements. However, an influence was only noted if the distractor was presented at the time of target disappearance or briefly thereafter. It is suggested that memory traces of distracting elements are only averaged with the final target position if they are highly activated at the time the target vanishes.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich, Germany

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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