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Factors affecting the representation of objects in distributed attention

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posted on 2023-06-07, 16:15 authored by Tricia Lesley Maxwell
Our phenomenological experience of what we see around us is of an accurate representation. However, such information is widely distributed in the brain so necessitates that some form of co-ordination of this information takes place to enable a coherent view of the world. The most prominently researched theory is Feature Integration Theory (Treisman, 1993). This proposes that accurate binding is dependent on the current spatial distribution of attention. Individual objects compete for attention via activity in a master map of locations with competition being modulated by grouping processes. When attention is distributed, features are randomly selected and a bound object can be perceived to be located at any position within the attentional window. However, there is evidence to suggest that in distributed attention, coarse location information is available and two alternative proposals have been put forward. The first suggests that it is the information from a unitary feature that can determine the perceived location of a bound object (Tsal & Lavie, 1988) and the second proposes that the information from all contributing features is averaged to provide the location information (Ashby et al, 1996). One way to determine which model best represents feature integration is to investigate the contribution each feature makes to the perceived location of a bound object by using the illusory conjunction paradigm in which an object is formed when the visual system binds together individual features from items located in different parts of the display. Results indicated that in briefly presented displays, perception can be subject to tritan-like shifts in colour space. No support for spatial averaging or for the random rule was found. Rather, there was a strong indication that the perceived location of illusory objects was sourced from a single feature supporting the unitary rule.


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