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Title:Similarity and feature dimensions in inattentional blindness
Author(s):Wood, Katherine Miller
Advisor(s):Simons, Daniel J.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
inattentional blindness
attention sets
Abstract:Obvious but unexpected events often go unnoticed when people are selectively attending to one set of objects and ignoring another. People are more likely to notice something unexpected if it is more similar to the group of objects to which they are attending, and less similar to the group of objects that they are ignoring. Previous studies of this phenomenon often vary similarity along a single continuum, such as black to white, with the attended and ignored objects occupying either extreme. This results in similarity and dissimilarity that have a zero-sum relationship; as an object becomes more similar to one set of objects and moves closer to one end of the continuum, it necessarily becomes less similar from the other set of objects and moves farther from the other end of the continuum. This obscures the separate contributions of similarity to a set of objects and dissimilarity from a set of objects to the noticing of unexpected events. To disentangle these similarity roles, we designed a series of inattentional blindness tasks in which we held similarity to the attended set along a critical feature constant while varying it with respect only to the ignored set, or vice versa. Across five experiments, we varied similarity both along task-relevant dimensions and task-irrelevant dimensions. We consistently observed strong inhibitory effects for stimuli similar to the ignored set; however, this effect depended on whether similarity varied on a task-relevant or task-irrelevant dimension. We did not consistently observe enhancement of objects similar to the attended set. This suggests that suppression alone may explain many of the observed similarity effects, and reveals that these similarity effects do not extend cleanly to task-irrelevant dimensions.
Issue Date:2017-10-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Katherine Wood
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-13
Date Deposited:2017-12

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