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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 6/2021

Open Access 02-01-2021 | Original Article

Visual search in virtual 3D space: the relation of multiple targets and distractors

Auteurs: Thorsten Plewan, Gerhard Rinkenauer

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 6/2021

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Abstract

Visual search and attentional alignment in 3D space are potentially modulated by information in unattended depth planes. The number of relevant and irrelevant items as well as their spatial relations may be regarded as factors which contribute to such effects. On a behavioral level, it might be different whether multiple distractors are presented in front of or behind target items. However, several studies revealed that attention cannot be restricted to a single depth plane. To further investigate this issue, two experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, participants searched for (multiple) targets in one depth plane, while non-target items (distractors) were simultaneously presented in this or another depth plane. In the second experiment, an additional spatial cue was presented with different validities to highlight the target position. Search durations were generally shorter when the search array contained two additional targets and were markedly longer when three distractors were displayed. The latter effect was most pronounced when a single target and three distractors coincided in the same depth plane and this effect persisted even when the target position was validly cued. The study reveals that the depth relation of target and distractor stimuli was more important than the absolute distance between these objects. Furthermore, the present findings suggest that within an attended depth plane, irrelevant information elicits strong interference. In sum, this study provides further evidence that allocation of attention is a flexible process which may be modulated by a variety of perceptual and cognitive factors.
Voetnoten
1
Using stereoscopic presentation, all stimuli are presented physically on one depth plane. Therefore, modulations of depth planes were limited to “perceived depth” in the present experiments. In this regard, it must be also considered, that the experimental manipulations may have affected low-level visual processes (e.g., image fusion) to different degrees.
 
2
In principle, this variable could have been labeled as distractor depth plane, as well. To avoid any ambiguities with respect to the labels near and far (which were reserved for the variable target depth plane), we chose to label it target–distractor relation with the levels same and different. Moreover, this label expresses the idea behind this experimental manipulation: Namely, whether the relative position of target and distractor items influences task performance. At the same time, a combination of, for instance, a near target and a different target–distractor relation means that the distractor was located in the far-depth plane.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Visual search in virtual 3D space: the relation of multiple targets and distractors
Auteurs
Thorsten Plewan
Gerhard Rinkenauer
Publicatiedatum
02-01-2021
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 6/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01392-3