The control of visual attention using multiple target features.

Acta psychologica

PubMedID: 2073028

Cooper EE, Juola JF. The control of visual attention using multiple target features. Acta Psychol (Amst). 1990;75(2):139-51.
An experiment was conducted to determine how visual attention is allocated in response to pairwise combinations of location, color, and size cues. Subjects viewed displays of eight letters arranged into an 'X' pattern emanating from a central fixation point. The letters varied on the dimensions of location (foveal or parafoveal positions), size (large or small), and color (red or blue). Seven of the letters were 'X's and the remaining, critical letter was either an 'R' or an 'L'. Subjects were given advance cues about characteristics of the critical letter on two of the three dimensions (location size, and color). The cues varied in their validity such that on any trial either both dimensions were validly cued, one dimension was validly cued while the other was invalidly cued, or both cues were invalid. Subjects were instructed to try to use the cues to find the critical letter, and response times to identify it as an 'R' or an 'L' served as the main dependent measure. Two models were evaluated against the data; in one, location cues are viewed as having distinct effects on an early stage of attention whereas color and size cues operate only in a later, selection stage. In the other model, all cues are used in a similar way to select display items for serial, focal attention. In general, the serial processing model provides a more complete account of the data.