Volume 6, Number 6, Abstract 949, Page 949a

doi:10.1167/6.6.949

http://journalofvision.org/6/6/949/

ISSN 1534-7362

An investigation of relationships among visual-attention processes Marcia Grabowecky

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

Lucica Iordanescu

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

KatieAnn Skogsberg

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

Sarah Novis

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

Michael Rock

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

Satoru Suzuki

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

Abstract Behavioral attention research has primarily focused on identifying and characterizing distinct attention processes. To move toward a more integrative understanding of visual attention, we have begun to investigate relationships among attention mechanisms. We systematically tested each observer in a battery of voluntary-attention tasks that collectively evaluated a variety of attention processes (e.g., focusing in time, in space and to objects, distributing attention across space to grasp global structures, shifting, multi-item tracking, and maintaining vigilance). Correlation-based analyses (across a large number of observers) were used to elucidate how behaviorally defined attention processes are mediated by shared, separate, and/or antagonistic underlying mechanisms. The results suggest an antagonistic relationship between the ability to centrally focus attention and the ability to distribute attention (e.g., if one is superior at focusing, one tends to be inferior at distributing). The results also suggest that a global-attention mechanism subserves both global-object processing (including object-based attention) and global-motion processing. Interestingly, this mechanism appears to have its own attentionmaintenance mechanism that is not involved in spatial attention processes (e.g., focusing, shifting and tracking). Other findings include that spatial shifting of attention involves separate contributions from the processes of attentive tracking and the rapid engagement of attention, and maintaining focused attention involves the ability to rapidly re-engage attention (suggesting that maintaining focal attention requires rapid and frequent refocusing of strayed attention). Thus, by examining performance correlations among a variety of attention tasks, we have provided insights into the structure of underlying mechanisms that mediate common attention tasks. This work was supported by NEI grant EY14110 to Satoru Suzuki

History Received March 23, 2006; published June 1, 2006

Citation Grabowecky, M., Iordanescu, L., Skogsberg, K., Novis, S., Rock, M., & Suzuki, S. (2006). An investigation of relationships among visual-attention processes [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 6(6), 949a,

http://journalofvision.org/6/6/949/, doi:10.1167/6.6.949.

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