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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Working memory load disrupts gaze-cued orienting of attention
Authors: Bobak, Anna Katarzyna
Langton, Stephen
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Keywords: Gaze-cued attention
working memory
top-down control
random number generation
executive load
Issue Date: 24-Aug-2015
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Citation: Bobak AK & Langton S (2015) Working memory load disrupts gaze-cued orienting of attention, Frontiers in Psychology, 6, Art. No.: 1258.
Abstract: A large body of work has shown that a perceived gaze shift produces a shift in a viewer’s spatial attention in the direction of the seen gaze. A controversial issue surrounds the extent to which this gaze-cued orienting effect is stimulus-driven, or is under a degree of top-down control. In two experiments we show that the gaze-cued orienting effect is disrupted by a concurrent task that has been shown to place high demands on executive resources: random number generation. In Experiment 1 participants were faster to locate targets that appeared in gaze-cued locations relative to targets that appeared in locations opposite to those indicated by the gaze shifts, while simultaneously and continuously reciting aloud the digits 1-9 in order; however, this gaze-cueing effect was eliminated when participants continuously recited the same digits in a random order. Random number generation was also found to interfere with gaze-cued orienting in Experiment 2 where participants performed a speeded letter identification response. Together, these data suggest that gaze-cued orienting is actually under top-down control. We argue that top-down signals sustain a goal to shift attention in response to gazes, such that orienting ordinarily occurs when they are perceived; however, the goal cannot always be maintained when concurrent, multiple, competing goals are simultaneously active in working memory.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: © 2015 Bobak and Langton. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Affiliation: Psychology

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