Recent experiments have cast considerable doubt upon the ability of color singletons to capture spatial attention in a stimulus-driven manner. Despite the lack of evidence for it in the laboratory, there are many anecdotal reports of stimulus-driven capture in real-world settings. Perhaps a critical difference between laboratory and real-world visual scenes is the amount of relevant information, or perceptual load. Scenes with low perceptual load (as when one is focused on a single visual object) might free attentional resources, allowing them to be more easily captured by color singletons. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated perceptual load in a visual search task with irrelevant flanking letters that were sometimes color singletons. If reduced perceptual load increases susceptibility to capture by color singletons, then the presence of a color singleton should slow responses and increase flanker-target compatibility effects. Contrary to this prediction, we found no evidence of capture under high or low perceptual load.
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Visual discrimination, Space perception, Distraction (Psychology), Attention.
Gaspelin, Nicholas. "Perceptual load and the capture of spatial attention by color singletons." (2010). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/psy_etds/48