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No advantage for separating overt and covert attention in visual search

No advantage for separating overt and covert attention in visual search


Title: No advantage for separating overt and covert attention in visual search
Author: Joseph Macinnes, W.
Jóhannesson, Ómar I.   orcid.org/0000-0002-5594-4055
Chetverikov, Andrey   orcid.org/0000-0003-2767-6310
Kristjánsson, Árni
Date: 2020
Language: English
Scope:
School: Health Sciences
Department: Faculty of Psychology
Series: Vision (Switzerland); 4(2)
ISSN: 2411-5150
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/vision4020028
Subject: Attention; Covert; Eye-movements; Gaze-contingent; Search; Ophthalmology; Optometry; Sensory Systems; Cognitive Neuroscience; Cell Biology
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/3445

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Citation:

Joseph Macinnes , W , Jóhannesson , Ó I , Chetverikov , A & Kristjánsson , Á 2020 , ' No advantage for separating overt and covert attention in visual search ' , Vision (Switzerland) , vol. 4 , no. 2 , 28 . https://doi.org/10.3390/vision4020028

Abstract:

We move our eyes roughly three times every second while searching complex scenes, but covert attention helps to guide where we allocate those overt fixations. Covert attention may be allocated reflexively or voluntarily, and speeds the rate of information processing at the attended location. Reducing access to covert attention hinders performance, but it is not known to what degree the locus of covert attention is tied to the current gaze position. We compared visual search performance in a traditional gaze-contingent display, with a second task where a similarly sized contingent window is controlled with a mouse, allowing a covert aperture to be controlled independently by overt gaze. Larger apertures improved performance for both the mouse-and gaze-contingent trials, suggesting that covert attention was beneficial regardless of control type. We also found evidence that participants used the mouse-controlled aperture somewhat independently of gaze position, suggesting that participants attempted to untether their covert and overt attention when possible. This untethering manipulation, however, resulted in an overall cost to search performance, a result at odds with previous results in a change blindness paradigm. Untethering covert and overt attention may therefore have costs or benefits depending on the task demands in each case.

Description:

Funding: This study was funded, in part, by an National Research University Higher School of Economics Lab grant for the Vision Modelling Lab (author MacInnes); grants #152427 and IRF #173947-052 from the Icelandic Research Fund; and the research fund of the University of Iceland (Author Kristjánsson). Publisher Copyright: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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