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Top-down modulation of visual attention

Anderson, Giles Mark (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This body of work examines the effects of pre-cues on visual search for targets defined by a colour-orientation conjunction. Cueing the identity of targets enhanced the efficiency of search, with stronger effects from cueing the colour of the target compared to cueing its orientation, even though the targets were balanced for search efficiency within both orientation and colour dimensions. The colour advantage remained when the response to the target was task-irrelevant and occurred whether information was presented as visual cues or verbal cues. There was, however, evidence of automatic priming from the physical nature of cue stimuli playing a substantial role in guiding search, particular when based on the cue’s colour. Eye movement data from uncued trials indicated fixations were initially directed to a subset of items with the same colour. Cues were assumed to direct fixations within this colour-grouped array. Colour cueing effects reinforced the parsing of stimuli grouped by colour, while orientation cues enhanced local orientation disparities within the colour groups. The findings suggest that the advantage for colour cueing may be due to a combination of more efficient early segmentation of search items into colour groups and stronger grouping arising within these groups.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Humphreys, Glyn W. and Heinke, Dietmar
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Psychology
Subjects:BF Psychology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1270
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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