Allocating visual attention to grouped objects

Michael D. Dodd, Jay Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study is to examine the allocation of visual attention to independent stimuli that are grouped together through a set of Gestalt principles. The basic display used in the experiments consisted of a 4 × 4 matrix of placeholders, made up of 12 circles and 4 squares. In Experiment 1, the squares were located adjacent to each other (i.e., perceptually grouped together), whereas in Experiment 2 the squares were located in nonadjacent locations (i.e., not perceptually grouped). Following a peripheral cue at a square placeholder, faster detection responses were found for targets appearing in the noncued square placeholders than in corresponding circle placeholders for Experiment 1. This pattern of results was not found in Experiment 2. Experiment 3 used an alternate display to rule out the possibility that the results of Experiment 1 were due to shape-based object priming. Experiment 4 extended the cue-target SOA to examine whether inhibition of return would spread through grouped objects-it did not. These findings provide new insights into the boundary conditions for what, exactly, constitutes an object.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-497
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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