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Does one's name attract visual attention?

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Does one's name attract visual attention? To answer this question, we conducted four experiments. Experiment 1 adopted the method of a previous study (Bundesen, Kyllingsb├Žk, Houmann, & Jensen, 1997), but used Japanese names; the results of this experiment replicated the lack of evidence for attentional attraction by the observer's name. Experiments 2 and 3 tested two arguments put forward by Bundesen et al. (1997) to explain this null effect of observer's name on attentional attraction. The results showed that neither efficient target selection by colour nor the number of target characters could explain the null effect. Alternatively, we proposed that the observer's set plays a critical role in the attentional attraction of observer's name. Experiments 4 and 5 tested this idea by manipulating the observer's set; the results showed that when the observer's set matches the target defining feature, the observer's name does capture attention. These five experiments suggest that attentional attraction by an observer's name depends on the relationship between the observer's set and task.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Hiroshima University

Publication date: November 1, 2004


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