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Psychon Bull Rev. 2000 Jun;7(2):301-8.

Selective attention to the parts of an object.

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Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242-1407, USA.


Recent empirical results suggest that there is a decrement in dividing attention between two objects in a scene compared with focusing attention on a single object. However, objects can be made of individual parts. Is there a decrement for dividing attention across different parts of a single object? We addressed this question in two experiments. In Experiment 1, we demonstrated that attention can exhibit part-based selection--that is, the subjects were more accurate in reporting two attributes from the same part of an object than they were in reporting attributes from different parts of an object. In Experiment 2, we demonstrated that part-based attentional decrements occurred simultaneously with object-based attentional decrements. The results from Experiment 2 demonstrated that part-based attention is evident at the same time as objects are processed as coherent whole. Our results imply that there is an attentional mechanism that can select either objects or their parts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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