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The role of attention in the processing of biological motion

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84258

Thornton,  IM
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Thornton, I., Cavanagh, P., & Labianca, A. (2000). The role of attention in the processing of biological motion. Poster presented at 23rd European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 2000), Groningen, Netherlands.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E496-4
Abstract
Previous studies have shown that some forms of biological-motion displays--specifically those in which bottom - up integration is possible--can be processed very effectively when attention is allocated to a demanding secondary task (Thornton et al, 1998 Perception Supplement, 68b; Thornton et al, 1999 Perception Supplement, 35c). Here we further explore the role of attention in biological-motion processing using visual search and flanker interference paradigms. Even in the absence of masking elements, detection of a target walker amongst distractor walkers (set size ranged between 1 and 4 walkers) was always slow and effortful, requiring approximately 116 ms per item when the target was defined in terms of direction of locomotion (left-facing walker amongst right-facing walkers or vice versa), and close to 200 ms per item when the nature of target motion was varied (phase-scrambled versus phase-normal walkers). These findings suggest that the individuation of walking figures in these displays requires attention. We are currently using a concurrent flanker task to explore whether this reallocation of attention is a controlled or automatic process.