Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.446203
Title: Attention and person perception : the dynamics of distractor processing
Author: Brebner, Joanne L.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
Categorisation, whereby people are thought of in terms of their applicable social categories (e.g., age, sex, race) is a common tactic employed by the social perceiver in order to make sense of others. Is this facet of the person perception process inevitable however?  One factor which may modulate category activation is task-relevancy.  To explore this issue, participants were required to categorise verbal stimuli while ignoring task-irrelevant response matching and mismatching distractors under various experimental conditions.  The initial issue of interest was whether capacity limits in visual attention moderate the extraction of sex and identity cues from face and object distractors. The results revealed that perceivers could prevent identification of multiple faces and objects, but were unable to prevent categorizing both one and two faces by sex (Expts. 1 and 2).  In addition, participants extracted sex cues from to-be-ignored face distractors when they were presented in a predictable spatial location (Expt. 3).  Distractor repetition also failed to moderate perceivers’ ability to prevent categorizing task-irrelevant faces by sex (Expts. 4, 5 and 6).  However, repetition did modulate the sex categorization of name distractors (Expt. 7), and also face identification (Expt. 8).  Mismatching face flankers also continued to interfere with a sex-classification task even if they were inverted (Expt. 9).  Crucially, however, perceivers were able to prevent sex category activation if hair cues were cropped from the facial distractors (Expt. 10).  Extending this finding, faces displaying counter-stereotyped hairstyles (i.e., males with long hair and females with short hair) produced categorical errors, whereby the hair length and not the internal facial features drove category activation of both unfamiliar (Expt. 11), and familiar faces (Expt. 12).  Provided that category specifying features are present and sufficient to trigger response competition, distractor processing therefore appears to be inevitable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.446203  DOI: Not available
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