Attention to Orientation, Size, Luminance, and Color: Attentional Failure Within the Form Domain

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Abstract

Whether Ss can attend to physical dimensions of objects without access to semantic information about them was examined. Ss decided which of 2 laterally presented pictures, a target and a distractor, had the same orientation (Experiment 1), size (Experiment 2), luminance (Experiment 3), or color (Experiment 4) as a reference picture. In each experiment, the matching stimuli were either physically identical, semantically related, or semantically unrelated. The reference stimulus and the distractor were either semantically related or unrelated. When matching was based on orientation or on size, performance was facilitated when the matching stimuli were semantically related, and it was disrupted when the distractor was semantically related to the reference stimulus. Semantic effects were eliminated when matching was based on luminance or color. The results are discussed in terms of physiological data, form and surface information, and global and local processing.

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