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Stimulus configuration in selective attention tasks. Pomerantz , J. R. & Garner, W. R. (1973). Perception & Psychophysics , 14 , 565-569. Gestalt. Two or more elements appear to form a unitary configuration, or may appear simply as a collection of separate elements.

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stimulus configuration in selective attention tasks

Stimulus configuration in selective attention tasks

Pomerantz, J. R. & Garner, W. R. (1973). Perception & Psychophysics, 14, 565-569.

gestalt
Gestalt
  • Two or more elements appear to form a unitary configuration, or may appear simply as a collection of separate elements.
  • The rules of Gestalt based mostly on the principles of proximity and similarity.
present study
Present study
  • The problem of configuration is viewed within the context of information processing, specifically as a problem related to perceptual independence.
  • That is…if elements are organized into a larger unit, then selective attention to individual elements in the configuration should not be possible.
present study1
Present study
  • To use an information processing approach, …
    • Each stimulus was considered as one of a set of stimuli.
    • The stimulus was defined dimensionally
  • Two stimulus dimensions each with two levels
    • Two dimensions: left and right
    • Two levels: left and right curvature of a parenthesis ( )
  • Primary process of concern: selective attention
experiment
Experiment
  • Three differentiate conditions allow the independence of stimulus dimensions to be evaluated:discriminate between stimuli
    • One discrimination control condition
    • Two discrimination correlated condition
    • Two discrimination correlated condition

one

correlated

orthogonal

LL LR

( ( ( )

-----v.s.-----

. )( ) )

RL RR

LL RL

( ( )(

-----v.s.-----

.( ) ) )

LR RR

L L

( (

--v.s.--

.) (

R L

L R

( )

--v.s.--

) )

R R

L L

( (

--v.s.--

( )

L R

R L

) (

--v.s.--

.) )

R R

L L

( (

--v.s.--

.) )

R R

L R

( )

--v.s.--

.) (

R L

purpose
Purpose
  • To investigate the role of selective attention in the context of three different experimental operations
prediction
Prediction
  • All three tasks yield equivalent performance
    • Attention was paid only to the relevant dimension in each task.
  • It took subjects more time to complete the orthogonal task than the control task and less time for correlated task
    • Selective attention was not possible, since subjects would attend to a single dimension and ignored irrelevant interfering information
    • The correlated task was complete with information integration
    • Interference and facilitation: dimensional integralitynone: dimensional separability
  • Interference occurred with the orthogonal task, but no facilitation with the correlated task
    • Dimensions were not treated as dimensions, but rather served to generate nominally related stimuli
    • grouping
procedure
Procedure
  • Classified a deck of cards into two piles
  • Sort as fast as possible, but without making errors
  • 8 deck each sort, 32 cards each deck
  • 1 practice sort and 8 experiment sort (1 per condition)
  • The order of condition was counterbalanced

one

correlated

orthogonal

LL LR

( ( ( )

-----v.s.-----

. )( ) )

RL RR

LL RL

( ( )(

-----v.s.-----

.( ) ) )

LR RR

L L

( (

--v.s.--

.) (

R L

L R

( )

--v.s.--

) )

R R

L L

( (

--v.s.--

( )

L R

R L

) (

--v.s.--

.) )

R R

L L

( (

--v.s.--

.) )

R R

L R

( )

--v.s.--

.) (

R L

results1
Results
  • Subjects were not able to attend selectively to one element of these stimuli while ignoring, or filtering, the other.
  • It was no easier to classify stimuli when both dimensions varied in a completely correlated manner than when only one dimension varied.
  • These dimension do not serve that function for subjects.
  • These shapes may be treated nominally, or categorically, in perceptual process.
result
Result
  • No interference effect when using this kind of stimuli
discussion
Discussion
  • Pattern goodness may be involved in the discrimination process
  • Good patterns were discriminated and encoded more quickly than poor ones
  • The goodness of pattern from best to worst in this study is LR, RL, LL, and RR
discussion1
Discussion
  • LR> RL> LL> RR

( ) ) ( ( ( ) )

  • Predictions can be made for the relative difficulty of the various two-stimulus discriminations in the main experiment
discussion2
Discussion
  • Physically separate stimulus elements may be treated perceptually as belonging to a single configuration
  • Configuration does not always result
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