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Title: Attentional facilitation for faces in dynamic spatial cueing tasks
Author: Swalwell, Robert Ben
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 9903
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis explored whether faces produce inhibition of return (IOR) in dynamic displays. As previous literature exclusively used static displays, it is not possible to discern whether the IOR observed is attributable directly to the face or simply reflects location-based IOR. Whether faces produce object-based IOR is suggested as a way to distinguish two contemporary theories of IOR: the habituation hypothesis and detection cost theory. In the habituation hypothesis, IOR reflects a weaker response to previously attended objects due to habituation, whereas detection cost theory proposes IOR as an attentional cost incurred when there is a similarity between the cue and target. As highly salient objects may not be habituated to, the habituation hypothesis would predict that certain objects would not show IOR, whereas detection cost theory would predict IOR for all objects provided the relationship between cue and target remains the same. Thus, whether faces produce object-based IOR may distinguish between these accounts. Nine experiments were conducted comparing face stimuli to other objects in spatial cueing tasks. In the eight experiments that used dynamic displays, faces did not produce object-based IOR. In fact, cueing effects for faces were consistently in the direction of facilitation, rather than inhibition. This was the case for schematic and photographic faces and for both manual and saccadic responses. A secondary finding was that other schematic objects also did not produce object-based IOR, while shapes and photographic objects did produce object-based IOR. The present data are most consistent with the habituation hypothesis, although this only specifically explains the lack of IOR for faces rather than the presence of facilitation. This cueing effect may be explained by the maintenance of attention at cued faces and/or the interaction of different perceptual representations and their subsequent attentional effects.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available