PSYB51H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Visual Search, Attentional Blink, Binding Problem

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Published on 3 Dec 2011
Chapter 8 Definitions
attention: any of the very large set of selective processes in the brain. To deal with the
impossibility of handling all inputs at once, the nervous system has evolved
mechanisms that are able to restrict processing to a subset of things, places, ideas,
or moments in time
selective attention: the form of attention involved when processing is restricted to a
subset of the possible stimuli
reaction time (RT): a measure of the time from the onset of a stimulus to a response
cue: a stimulus that might indicate where (or what) a subsequent stimulus will be. Cues
can be valid (correct information), invalid (incorrect), or neutral (uninformative)
stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA): the time between the onset of one stimulus and the
onset of another
visual search: looking for a target in a display containing distracting elements
target: the goal of a visual search
distractor: in visual search, any stimulus other than the target.
set size: the number of items in a visual display
feature search: search for a target defined by a single attribute, such as a salient color or
salience: the vividness of a stimulus relative to its neighbors
parallel: in visual attention, referring to the processing of multiple stimuli at the same time
serial self-terminating search: a search from item to item, ending when a target is found
guided search: search in which attention can be restricted to a subset of possible items
on the basis of information about the target item’s basic features (e.g., its color)
conjunction search: search for a target defined by the presence of two or more attributes
(e.g., a red, vertical target among red horizontal and blue vertical distractors)
binding problem: the challenge of tying different attributes of visual stimuli (e.g., color,
orientation, motion), which are handled by different brain circuits, to the appropriate
object so that we perceive a unified object (e.g., red, vertical, moving right)
pre attentive stage: the processing of a stimulus that occurs before selective attention is
deployed to that stimulus
feature integration theory: Anne Treisman’s theory of visual attention, which holds that a
limited set of basic features can be processed in parallel preattentively, but that other
properties, including the correct binding of features to objects, require attention
illusory conjunction: an erroneous combination of two features in a visual scene—for
example, seeing a red X when the display contains red letters and Xs but no red Xs
rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP): an experimental procedure in which stimuli
appear in a stream at one location (typically the point of fixation) at a rapid rate
(typically about eight per second)
attentional blink: the difficulty in perceiving and responding to the second of two target
stimuli amid a rapid stream of distracting stimuli if the observer has responded to the
first target stimulus within 200 to 500 milliseconds before the second stimulus is
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