Recently, Biggs and Gibson (2010) provided evidence that distractor interference depended upon the context of the task, suggesting top-down effects were responsible for distractor interference. Our present study examined this evidence under varied task demands by randomizing distractor presence. The results indicated better performance in the presence of a singleton distractor with a neutral identity relative to an absent distractor condition. By incorporating the distractor into the search strategy, participants located the target faster with this supposedly distracting information. Top-down strategies were also increased interference as participants were priming distractor processing by trying to ignore the irrelevant singleton. When provided with an efficient means of locating the target, the irrelevant information no longer produced the same benefits. Our findings suggest that top-down mechanisms can increase or decrease interference produced by irrelevant information depending on how this information is incorporated into visual search.
|Author||Adam Thomas Biggs|
|Contributor||Brad Gibson, Committee Chair|
|Contributor||James Brockmole, Committee Member|
|Contributor||G.A. Radvansky, Committee Member|
|Degree Level||Master's Thesis|
|Departments and Units|