ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

›› 2005, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (4): 413-420.

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The Perceptual Load Theory and Selective Attention

Wei Ping,Zhou Xiaolin   

  1. Department of psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2005-01-24 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2005-07-15 Published:2005-07-15
  • Contact: Zhou Xiaolin

Abstract: It is considered that the perceptual load theory proposed by Lavie resolves the conflict between early and late selection models in the study of selective attention. According to this theory, to what extent the task-irrelevant stimuli are processed is determined by whether there are spare attentional resources left when they are used to process the task-relevant stimuli. If the current task has high perceptual load and exhausts all the attentional resources, there will be no spare resources left to process distractors; if, however, the current task has low perceptual load and uses only a proportion of attentional resources, the spared resources will automatically spread to distractors, their processing causing interference. This paper reviewed studies that investigate the impact of perceptual load on selective attention, and studies that examine the interaction between the distribution of attentional resources and other cognitive processes or factors, such as working memory load.

Key words: perceptual load, selective attention, early selection, late selection, conflict control

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