Havanur, Setu Gururaj (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
I investigated the interaction between perceptual grouping and attention, focusing specifically on distracter rejection. The novelty of the thesis lies in the study of different configural types and their effect on search across space and time. Grouping by configuration is likely to facilitate search by making distracter rejection easier. Grouping can be based on the regular locations of elements, the similarity of elements and whether the elements form a closed shape. The effects of grouping occurred under conditions in which the groups never contained the target, although detection was faster if the target fell internal to the group relative to when it fell outside the group. These results, together with those from neuropsychological studies reported here, are consistent with rapid suppression of irrelevant distractor groups. Primitive grouping, apparently based on clusters of similar proximal elements, took place even when attention was reduced in patients with chronic spatial biases in visual selection. However, neurological damage to attention-related brain regions did disrupt grouping effects dependent on element shape. Attention may, therefore, be more critical for some forms of grouping. Grouping interacts with attention to determine perceptual performance. This operates in a graded manner, determined by the type of grouping.
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