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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2012, Vol. 44 Issue (11) : 1454-1462     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01454
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The Interaction between Perceptual Load and the Target-Distractor Distance in Regulating Stimulus-Driven Attentional Capture
WEI Ping; KANG Guan-Lan
(Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition and Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China)
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Abstract  The current study investigated the interaction between the perceptual load in searching for a target and the distance between the target and a task-irrelevant singleton in regulating stimulus-driven attentional capture. Participants were asked to search for a target letter among nontarget letters and were instructed to ignore a differently colored task-irrelevant singleton letter, which was compatible, neutral or incompatible with the response to the target letter. The perceptual load of the search display was low (with set size of 4), medium (with set size of 8) or high (with set size of 12). The target and the task-irrelevant singleton were close to or distant from each other. Results showed that the flanker interference effect, in terms of the reaction times (RTs) in neutral condition subtracted from that in incompatible condition, was significant for the low perceptual load condition, but was reduced for the medium and the high load conditions. Moreover, for the medium and the high load conditions, the flanker effect was significantly larger when the target and the task-irrelevant singleton were distant from each other than when they were close to each other. The flanker effect thus was affected by both the perceptual load of the search display and the distance between the target and the task-irrelevant singleton. These results indicate that whether the task-irrelevant singleton captures attention and causes interference with the current target processing is not only affected by whether there are overall spare attentional resources left from processing the current task, but is also affected by whether there are spare attentional resources at the subregion where the singleton is located.
Keywords perceptual load      attentional capture      singleton      localized attentional interference      attentional resource     
Corresponding Authors: WEI Ping   
Issue Date: 01 November 2012
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WEI Ping,KANG Guan-Lan. The Interaction between Perceptual Load and the Target-Distractor Distance in Regulating Stimulus-Driven Attentional Capture[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(11): 1454-1462.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01454     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2012/V44/I11/1454
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