The role of judgment frames and task precision in object attention: Reduced template sharpness limits dual-object performance

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Multiple attributes of a single-object are often processed more easily than attributes of different objects–a phenomenon associated with object attention. Here we investigate the influence of two factors, judgment frames and judgment precision, on dual-object report deficits as an index of object attention. [Han, S., Dosher, B., & Lu, Z.-L. (2003). Object attention revisited: Identifying mechanisms and boundary conditions. Psychological Science, 14, 598–604] predicted that consistency of the frame for judgments about two separate objects could reduce or eliminate the expression of object attention limitations. The current studies examine the effects of judgment frames and of task precision in orientation identification and find that dual-object report deficits within one feature are indeed affected modestly by the congruency of the judgments and more substantially by the required precision of judgments. The observed dual-object deficits affected contrast thresholds for incongruent frame conditions and for high precision judgments and reduce psychometric asymptotes. These dual-object deficits reflect a combined effect of multiplicative noise and external noise exclusion in dual-object conditions, both related to the effects of attention on the tuning of perceptual templates. These results have implications for modification of object attention theory, for understanding limitations on concurrent tasks.

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