Visual processing of human body and non-body distractors in natural scenes

Kroll, V.R. ORCID: 0000-0002-1249-9991, Dunn, A.K. ORCID: 0000-0003-3226-1734, Howard, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-8755-1109 and Baguley, T. ORCID: 0000-0002-0477-2492, 2014. Visual processing of human body and non-body distractors in natural scenes. In: 31st BPS Cognitive Psychology Section Annual Conference, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, 3-5 September 2014.


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Several studies have shown that human bodies may preferentially attract attention over other objects (Ro et al., 2007; Downing et al., 2004). We have previously shown that participants took longer to decide that a natural scene contained a target when a distractor human body also appeared with the scene than when the body did not appear. However, this slowing was also demonstrated with other distractor objects (i.e. lamps; Kroll, Dunn, Howard & Baguley, 2013). Here we used an irrelevant singleton paradigm in which we manipulated the presence or absence of different target (grandfather clock or chair) and distractor (bodies: colour full-body/silhouette/colour headless body, lamp: colour/silhouette) combinations independently of one another. The task was to detect a target in either the presence or absence of a task irrelevant distractor. Human body distractors once again slowed search for targets, but only when they were maximally different from the target (i.e. non-analogous), and when contextual detail (i.e. non-silhouette and head present) was available. Non-body distractors also slowed search for the target. However, there was no difference between the distractor bodies and non-bodies in terms of their ability to slow target search. These results, therefore, provide no evidence for human bodies attracting attention over other objects, at least within natural scenes.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Kroll, V.R., Dunn, A.K., Howard, C. and Baguley, T.
Date: September 2014
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:36
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2021 09:42

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