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Attentional capacity is undifferentiated: Concurrent discrimination of form, color, and motion

Abstract

We report a series of experiments on the concurrent discrimination of form, color, and motion attributes. All tasks involved joint discrimination of attributes, and positions and were highly demanding of attention. We quantified interference between concurrent discriminations by establishing the attention-operating characteristic. Interference was indistinguishable for similar and dissimilar task combinations (form-form, color-color, motion-motion, and color-form, color-motion, motion-color, and motion-form, respectively). These results suggest strongly that different visual discriminations draw on the same attentional capacity—in other words, that the capacity of visual attention is undifferentiated.

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Correspondence to And Jochen Braun.

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This research was supported by grants from NIMH, ONR, Sloan Foundation for Theoretical Biology, and NSF Center for Neuromorphic Engineering.

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Lee, D.K., Koch, C. & Braun, A.J. Attentional capacity is undifferentiated: Concurrent discrimination of form, color, and motion. Perception & Psychophysics 61, 1241–1255 (1999). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03206177

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Keywords

  • Visual Search
  • Color Discrimination
  • Concurrent Task
  • Central Task
  • Attentional Capacity