Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9489

Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Dissociable effects of attention and crowding on orientation averaging
Authors: Dakin, Steven C
Bex, Peter J
Cass, John R
Watt, Roger
Contact Email: r.j.watt@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: crowding
attention
orientation
context
Issue Date: Oct-2009
Publisher: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Citation: Dakin SC, Bex PJ, Cass JR & Watt R (2009) Dissociable effects of attention and crowding on orientation averaging, Journal of Vision, 9 (11), p. article 28.
Abstract: It has been proposed that visual crowding-the breakdown in recognition that occurs when objects are presented in cluttered scenes-reflects a limit imposed by visual attention. We examined this idea in the context of an orientation averaging task, having subjects judge the mean orientation of a set of oriented signal elements either in isolation, or "crowded" by nearby randomly oriented elements. In some conditions, subjects also had to perform an attentionally demanding secondary task. By measuring performance at different levels of signal orientation variability, we show that crowding increases subjects' local uncertainty (about the orientation of individual elements) but that diverting attention reduces their global efficiency (the effective number of elements they can average over). Furthermore, performance with the same stimulus-sequence, presented multiple times, reveals that crowding does not induce more stimulus-independent variability (as would be predicted by some accounts based on attention). We conclude that crowding and attentional load have dissociable perceptual consequences for orientation averaging, suggesting distinct neural mechanisms for both. For the task we examined, attention can modulate the effects of crowding by changing the efficiency with which information is analyzed by the visual system but since crowding changes local uncertainty, not efficiency, crowding does not reflect an attentional limit.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9489
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/9.11.28
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: University College London
University College London
University College London
Psychology

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