Attentional Capture

Decent Essays

Abrupt appearance of an object within peripheral visual fields are sudden onset distractors (SOD) and they can have effects on attention and reaction times. Attentional capture occurs when a distractor stimulus appears in a field of vision and pulls focus away from the task at hand. This has the effect of increasing reaction times as it diverts a subject’s attention while the brain registers and processes the new information. When the brain is focussed upon a specific task the distractor captures attention and thus can increase reaction time through this visual processing mechanism. This demonstrates automaticity, a reflex which is both not inhibited by increasing cognitive load (load-insensitivity criterion) and not voluntarily controlled (intentionality criterion). The attentional …show more content…

This was achieved by presenting central cues, indicating the position of the target letter thus increasing focus. Through these experiments they found that when a subject is in a diffuse attention state (unfocussed) SOD do cause attentional capture and increase reaction time. However, if the subject was presented with a cue this same increase in reaction time was not observed. This led them to conclude that attentional capture from SOD is not automatic and instead propose a priority based visual attention system. In 2006 Neo and Chua conducted research which built upon Yantis and Jonides’ to further demonstrate effects of attentional capture on reaction time. They investigated whether sporadic use of the SOD increased the effect of attentional capture as well as investigated whether maintaining the same position for the target letter decreased reaction times. They found that SOD attentional capture did affect reaction times and unlike in Yantis and Jonides’ experiment they concluded SOD did trigger an automaticity response when used

Get Access