Reducing the Effects of Adjacent Distractors by Narrowing Attention

Document Type



Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Three experiments explored the gradual narrowing of visual attention to a letter target when other letters were positioned close by. The method by which attention was narrowed involved presenting a digit target immediately prior to the letter target and in the same location for progressively shorter durations and requiring the S to identify both the digit target and the letter target before responding. The response time data from the 1st 2 experiments indicated that shorter durations of the digit target reduced the amount of information processed from noise letters positioned on either side of the letter target. In the 3rd experiment, in which separation of letters was increased slightly, the response times indicated that the information from flanking noise letters may have been virtually eliminated.

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© 1991 American Psychological Association

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