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Title: Individual differences in dynamic visual search
Author: Muhl-Richardson, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 9788
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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Many real-world tasks involve interacting with a range of electronic visual displays. Maintaining rapid and accurate performance on such tasks may be difficult due to situational stress, time-pressure, and an awareness of high error-costs. In a typical visual search, relevant target items must be identified amongst irrelevant distractors, but in a dynamic display all of these stimuli may undergo change. Much of the literature on visual search and monitoring examines static arrays and scenes, but dynamic displays present a more complex problem that involves greater demands on sustained attention and higher levels of both spatial and temporal uncertainty. The present thesis investigates visual search and monitoring using a novel dynamic search task and examines some of the individual factors that influence performance on this task. Chapter 1 provides a general introduction and review of the literature on visual search, relevant individual factors and two potentially beneficial interventions. Chapter 2 introduces and characterises a novel dynamic search task and, across three experiments, demonstrates predictive monitoring and the importance of individual differences in verbal working memory capacity and intolerance of uncertainty in accounting for variation in search performance. Chapter 3 shows that working memory training and transcranial direct current stimulation were not effective in improving search performance, but does reveal that target prevalence influenced target detection, predictive monitoring and the relationship between intolerance of uncertainty and search performance. Chapter 4 demonstrates similarities in the monitoring of colour and numerical information and shows that the need to search for a second category of target can have a negative impact on search performance and predictive monitoring. Finally, Chapter 5 summarises the findings from the empirical work in the preceding chapters and identifies a number of important theoretical and practical implications. Further work should continue to examine the contribution of individual variation in cognitive, personality and psychopathological traits to performance in complex visual tasks.
Supervisor: Hadwin, Julie ; Garner, Matthew ; Donnelly, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available