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Journal Article


Viswanathan L, Mingolla E. Perception 2002; 31(12): 1415-1437.


Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems, Boston University, 677 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


(Copyright © 2002, SAGE Publications)






We examined the allocation of attention in depth using a multi-element tracking paradigm. Observers were required to track a predefined subset of from two to eight elements in displays containing up to sixteen identical moving elements. We first show that depth cues, such as binocular disparity and occlusion through T-junctions, improve performance in a multi-element tracking task in the case where element boundaries are allowed to intersect in the depiction of motion in a single frontoparallel plane. We also show that the allocation of attention across two perceptually distinguishable planar surfaces, either frontoparallel or receding at a slanting angle and defined by coplanar elements, is easier than allocation of attention within a single surface. The same result was not found when attention was required to be deployed across items of two-color populations rather than across items of a single color. Our results suggest that, when surface information does not suffice to distinguish between targets and distractors that are embedded in these surfaces, division of attention across two surfaces aids in tracking moving targets. A final experiment with populations of elements moving within distinct volumes produced similar results, suggesting that spatial separation in three dimensions, rather than confinement to surfaces as such, may explain the improved performance for the two-surface case.

Language: en


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