Abstract/Details

The information capacity of visual attention


1990 1990

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Abstract (summary)

This investigation begins with the conjecture that visual attention is subserved by a single, powerful, general-purpose processor with a fixed modest data capacity. We suggest that this limited capacity corresponds to a fixed amount of information, measured in bits. We measure how much information attention can handle by measuring how much we can restrict display information without affecting performance. The information capacity of a display is the product of the number of samples in the display and the number of bits required to represent each sample.

The attentive visual tasks we study are the detection of a stationary dot in a field of moving dots and the detection of a static square in a field of flashing squares. Performance of these tasks is reliable up to a critical number of elements k and then falls as k/n when the number of elements n increases beyond this critical number. Performance of both tasks was measured under two conditions: the single displacement (two-frame) and the continuous (many-frame) condition. The display information required for unimpaired performance in each of these tasks is low--across tasks and across observers. Observers in the single displacement versions of these tasks require only 30 to 60 bits of information; observers in the continuous tasks require an information rate of only 130 to 370 bits per second. These results support the conjecture that the attentive mechanism has a limited capacity.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Psychobiology;
Psychological tests;
Electrical engineering
Classification
0349: Psychobiology
0632: Psychological tests
0544: Electrical engineering
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Applied sciences; preattentive tasks
Title
The information capacity of visual attention
Author
Verghese, Preeti
Number of pages
122
Publication year
1990
Degree date
1990
School code
0659
Source
DAI-B 51/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
University/institution
Syracuse University
University location
United States -- New York
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
9109625
ProQuest document ID
303872536
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/303872536
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