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Psychological Research

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 98–106 | Cite as

Focusing attention on overlapping and non-overlapping figures with subjective contours

  • Paola Ricciardelli
  • Claudia Bonfiglioli
  • Roberto Nicoletti
  • Carlo Umiltà
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

In a series of five experiments we investigated whether observers could focus attention on a restricted visual area that was demarcated by Kanizsa-like subjective contours, and whether this effect also occurred in the case of overlapping figures. The task was a simple reaction time to a luminance increment and the basic finding was that reaction time was faster when the imperative stimulus fell inside the focus of attention than when it fell outside. The first two experiments showed that the extent of the attentional focus could be adapted to a region that was demarcated by subjective contours, thus extending the results of previous studies that used regions demarcated by real contours. The last three experiments showed that, regardless of the type of margins, focusing was more efficient for the figure that was perceived as lying in front in a pair of overlapping figures.

Keywords

Reaction Time Attentional Focus Visual Area Simple Reaction Simple Reaction Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Ricciardelli
    • 2
  • Claudia Bonfiglioli
    • 3
  • Roberto Nicoletti
    • 1
  • Carlo Umiltà
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Università di Padova, via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, Italy e-mail: umilta@psico.unipd.it Fax: +39-049-8276600IT
  2. 2.Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL, London, UKGB
  3. 3.Università di Bologna, Bologna, ItalyIT

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