Spatial interference between attended items engenders serial visual processing

Yusuke Yamani, Jason McCarley, Jeffrey Mounts, Arthur Kramer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    A pair of experiments investigated the architecture of visual processing, parallel versus serial, across high and low levels of spatial interference in a divided attention task. Subjects made speeded judgments that required them to attend to a pair of color-cued objects among gray filler items, with the spatial proximity between the attended items varied to manipulate the strength of interference between attended items. Systems factorial analysis (Townsend & Nozawa, Journal of Mathematical Psychology 39:321-359, 1995) was used to identify processing architecture. Experiment 1, using moderately dense displays, found evidence of parallel processing whether attended objects were in low or high proximity to one another. Experiment 2, using higher-density displays, found evidence of parallel selection when attended stimuli were widely separated but serial processing when they were in high proximity. Divided visual attention can operate in parallel under conditions of low or moderate spatial interference between selected items, but strong interference engenders serial processing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-243
    Number of pages15
    JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Cognitive architecture
    • Systems factorial technology
    • Visual selective attention


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