SARAH SHOMSTEIN, George Washington University
Title: Structuring Visual Input: Evaluating Representations Influencing Attentional Selection
Ebbinghaus Empire Series 2015-2016
Abstract: Behavioral goals and motivations play a critical role in shaping and refining information processing so that only the most relevant sensory stimuli are used to guide attention and ultimately influence perception and decision making. Traditional accounts hold that multiple representations (spatial, object-based, features, etc.) guide attentional selection automatically. Using visual system as a model, I will present evidence drawn from behavioral, neuroimaging, and eye-tracking experiments challenging the traditional automaticity assumptions. Focusing on the influence of spatial and object-based representations and their interaction with reward, I will demonstrate that while spatial contribution is automatic, the influence of object representations to attentional selection is not. I will further argue that the degree to which object representations are used for attentional guidance is determined by the amount of uncertainty in the scene.
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