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Walking, talking and looking: effects of divided attention on gaze behaviour and visual search performance in a real-world environment.

Wincenciak, Joanna, Egan, Christopher D and Willis, Alexandra (2010) Walking, talking and looking: effects of divided attention on gaze behaviour and visual search performance in a real-world environment. Perception: ECVP abstract supplement, 39. p. 35. ISSN 0301-0066

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    Abstract/Description

    Visually-guided behaviour in the laboratory may not always reflect that in larger-scale environments, using more realistic tasks. (eg Smith et al, 2008 Cogn Process 9 121-126). Here, we explored (1) what people look at; (2) how quickly they find a target; and (3) whether divided attention (counting backwards in 7 s from 100) influences performance in a large-scale, active, visual search task in a real-world environment. Fourteen young adults (19–25 years) were asked to locate a target (white postcard) in a shop window as they walked along a pavement in Edinburgh, UK, under both ‘control’ and ‘divided attention’ conditions. Eye movements were recorded using a head-mounted eye tracker and coded manually according to object-based (‘what’) and location-based (‘where’) categories. Measurements were made from the point of first fixation on the correct shop display. Participants fixated significantly less often on task-relevant objects, and took significantly longer to find the target in the ‘divided attention’ condition compared with the control. No differences were found in terms of location-based (‘where’) categories. This suggests that real-world visual search performance in large-scale environments requires the activity of limited capacity, central attentional resources, but that visual scanning strategies (‘where’ we look) may not.

    Item Type: Article
    Print ISSN: 0301-0066
    Electronic ISSN: 1468-4233
    Uncontrolled Keywords: eye-movements; visual search; real-world; attention; working memory
    University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences > School of Life, Sport and Social Sciences
    Dewey Decimal Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation > 388 Transportation; ground transportation
    Library of Congress Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
    Item ID: 5475
    Depositing User: Dr Alexandra Willis
    Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2012 13:07
    Last Modified: 14 Dec 2012 16:47
    URI: http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/5475

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