: In real-world tasks visual attention is rarely aimed at a single object. Humans rather "forage" the visual scene for information, dynamically switching attentional templates. Several visual search studies have found that observers often use suboptimal attentional control strategies, possibly to avoid effort. Here, we investigated with a foraging paradigm if observers' reluctance to switch between attentional templates increases with template specificity. To that end, we manipulated the feature context of displays in which participants "foraged" moving stimuli on a tablet-PC. Experiment 1 (N = 35) revealed a decline in switching tendency and foraging efficiency with increasing feature-space distance between target alternatives. Experiment 2 (N = 36) found even lower flexibility with distractor color close to target colors and strongest impairments with distractor color in between target colors. Our results demonstrate that visual information sampling is most flexible when broad (instead of very specific) templates and relational search strategies are possible (e.g., attending to "redder" objects), with implications for both attention research and applications, especially in visual-foraging-like tasks, such as baggage screening or medical image assessment. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

How feature context alters attentional template switching

Chelazzi, Leonardo;
2021

Abstract

: In real-world tasks visual attention is rarely aimed at a single object. Humans rather "forage" the visual scene for information, dynamically switching attentional templates. Several visual search studies have found that observers often use suboptimal attentional control strategies, possibly to avoid effort. Here, we investigated with a foraging paradigm if observers' reluctance to switch between attentional templates increases with template specificity. To that end, we manipulated the feature context of displays in which participants "foraged" moving stimuli on a tablet-PC. Experiment 1 (N = 35) revealed a decline in switching tendency and foraging efficiency with increasing feature-space distance between target alternatives. Experiment 2 (N = 36) found even lower flexibility with distractor color close to target colors and strongest impairments with distractor color in between target colors. Our results demonstrate that visual information sampling is most flexible when broad (instead of very specific) templates and relational search strategies are possible (e.g., attending to "redder" objects), with implications for both attention research and applications, especially in visual-foraging-like tasks, such as baggage screening or medical image assessment. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
visual attention
attentional templates
searching strategies
multiple targets
search efficiency
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1053068
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