Rapid acquisition but slow extinction of an attentional bias in space yuhong v jiang et al
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Rapid Acquisition but Slow Extinction of an Attentional Bias in Space Yuhong V. Jiang et al. . Leona Ryan, Jenna Gathercole , and Ben Bordeaux. Research Topic. Does previous experience unknowingly affect where we direct spatial attention in visual search tasks

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Rapid Acquisition but Slow Extinction of an Attentional Bias in Space Yuhong V. Jiang et al.

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Rapid acquisition but slow extinction of an attentional bias in space yuhong v jiang et al

Rapid Acquisition but Slow Extinction of an Attentional Bias in SpaceYuhong V. Jiang et al.

Leona Ryan, Jenna Gathercole, and Ben Bordeaux


Research topic

Research Topic

Does previous experience unknowingly affect where we direct spatial attention in visual search tasks

How quickly does the learned bias disappear when no longer present


Keywords

Keywords

  • Spatial Attention: Attentional focus within a visual field

  • Statistical Learning: Incidental learning of the target’s spatial distribution, or where the target is most likely to appear.

    • Can be used to bias spatial attention towards rich locations

  • Experience-Driven Attention: Visual attention unknowingly biased by experience


Previous research

Previous Research

Previous research has shown that attention is frequently driven by experience

(Chung & Jiang ,1998)

People can incidentally learn that there is a consistent association between a target’s location and its spatial context

(Chung & Jiang ,1998)

Several studies have shown that participants locate a target more quickly when it appears in a rich location than in a sparse location

(Geng & Behrmann, 2002)


Purpose of research

Purpose of Research

Logic: In this experiment, the authors collected data from participants doing a visual search task. The Task was to find a stimulus among many distractors. The experiment was done in 2 phases, one in which the stimulus was in a rich quadrant 50% of the time, and in the second phase the stimulus was evenly distributed.

Research Question: How long will the advantage remain present once there is no longer a rich quadrant

Hypothesis: The authors expected response time to be faster in the rich quadrants than the sparse quadrants, even after the target is equally likely to appear in each quadrant


Experiment 1 uneven then even

Experiment 1: Uneven, then even

  • Purpose:

    • To find out the speed at which an advantage is developed during training

    • And to see the speed at which this advantage goes away during testing

      • They wanted to specifically look at attentional bias over time

    • Also interested if the participants were aware of any manipulation


Experiment 1 methods

Experiment 1 methods

  • Subjects: 8 students from the University of Minnesota

    • Naïve to the purpose of the study

  • Visual search Task

    • Participants searched for a 90° rotated T among 11 0°, 90°, 180°, or 270° rotated Ls.

    • The objective was to locate the T on the screen as quickly and accurately as possible and respond with the orientation of the T


Visual search task

Visual Search Task


Experiment 1 procedure continued

Experiment 1 procedure continued

A correct response was followed with a pleasant tone and an incorrect response with a buzz

The response was followed by a brief timeout, and the next trial would begin

Each subject completed 60 trials of practice, 576 trials of training, and 576 trials of testing

Finally, the subject was questioned about their knowledge of experimental manipulation


Experiment 1 procedure continued1

Experiment 1 procedure continued

  • Practice: The target was equally distributed

    • Done to determine the L intersection that produced a RT of 3000ms for each subject for use in the main experiment

  • Training: The screen was split into 4 quadrants

    • 1 quadrant was the rich quadrant (counterbalanced across participants)

      • The T appeared in this quadrant 50% of the time

    • The remaining 3 quadrants were sparse

      • The T appeared in these quadrants 16.7%

  • The participants weren’t aware of an uneven distribution or that there were both a training and testing phase

  • Testing: The target was evenly distributed and appeared in each quadrant 25% of the time


Experiment 1 results

Experiment 1 Results

Training: RT was faster when the target appeared in the rich quadrant than in the sparse quadrants.

Testing: RT was faster in the previously rich quadrants than previously sparse quadrants.

Exp 1 training phase (uneven)

  • The subjects were unaware of experimental manipulation and responded that the target was evenly distributed.


Training vs testing results

Training vs. Testing Results


Experiment 3

Experiment 3

Purpose: To test the adjustability of experience-driven attention in response to cue changes

Previous experiments tested the influence of primacy in developing a bias towards that information instead of information learned later in the task

Could changes in cue location throughout an experiment affect reaction time and learning a new bias later on?


Experiment 3 method

Experiment 3 Method

  • 12 College Students: 7 Females, 5 Males

  • 576 trials; 3 epochs of 192 trials each

    • Uneven-1, Uneven-2, and Even

  • A “rich-quadrant” contained the target 50% of the time, the other “sparse-quadrants” contained the target 16.7% of the time

  • The second epoch followed this same setup with a new “rich-quadrant” than in the first

  • The third epoch had an even distribution, each quadrant was equally as likely


Experiment 3 results

Experiment 3 Results

Epoch 1: RT was faster when the target appeared in the rich-first quadrant

Epoch 2: RT was not significantly faster than the always-sparse

Epoch 3: RT was significantly faster when the target fell in the rich-first quadrant


Experiment 4

Experiment 4

  • Purpose: To examine if a learned attentional bias could survive several days of interruption

  • Why would the attentional bias be eliminated after several days?

    • Memory could decay

    • Interaction with a daily environment could interfere

    • The delay marks the transition between training and testing

  • If the bias was still present, the idea that persistence is a characteristic of experience-driven attention would be strengthened


Experiment 4 method

Experiment 4 method

  • 8 students participated in the training

    • The testing session was conducted 1 week later

  • 384 trials

  • Target appeared in one quadrant on 50% of trials

  • Each of the others, 16.7%

  • Rich quadrant counterbalanced between subjects

  • Query about explicit awareness

    • Was the target evenly distributed?

    • Told it was not, asked to select rich quadrant


Experiment 4 results

Experiment 4 Results

  • Like the first experiments, the RT was faster in the rich quadrant

    • The RT also decreased as the experiment progressed

  • The bias survived the week-long delay

    • Target was evenly distributed during testing

  • More participants (4) identified the rich quadrant than would be explained by chance (2).

  • Greater evidence that explicit awareness occurs in target location probability learning

  • What enables the bias to persist?

    • Learned bias is task-specific

    • When the same task is introduced again, it will be influenced by the spatial bias already learned.


Experiment 4 results1

Experiment 4 Results


General conclusions

General Conclusions

The authors’ hypothesis was supported, the rich quadrant caused the advantage to remain, even after the target was evenly distributed

This attentional bias occurred rapidly and remained for many trials, and even for many days

Most participants were not aware of the experiment manipulation, even though their attention was highly affected by it


Real world application

Real World Application

Looking for a clock in the classroom

Driving in a car/traffic lights


Design improvements

Design Improvements

  • Use an experiment to test if different stimuli would make an effect in response time

  • Test more than one delay time in between experiments

    • They only tested a one week delay

  • Test different age groups to see if there is variation, only college students were used in all of these experiments

    • Acquisition, reaction time, and extinction


Future research

Future Research

  • An experiment using cueing before the target appears

    • both valid and invalid cues

    • Still using rich and sparse quadrants

  • Testing the same research question in a real world setting

    • For instance, the car scene with traffic lights


Questions

Questions?


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