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Front Psychol. 2011 Jan 5;1:238. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00238. eCollection 2010.

Experimental Effects and Individual Differences in Linear Mixed Models: Estimating the Relationship between Spatial, Object, and Attraction Effects in Visual Attention.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam Potsdam, Germany.

Abstract

Linear mixed models (LMMs) provide a still underused methodological perspective on combining experimental and individual-differences research. Here we illustrate this approach with two-rectangle cueing in visual attention (Egly et al., 1994). We replicated previous experimental cue-validity effects relating to a spatial shift of attention within an object (spatial effect), to attention switch between objects (object effect), and to the attraction of attention toward the display centroid (attraction effect), also taking into account the design-inherent imbalance of valid and other trials. We simultaneously estimated variance/covariance components of subject-related random effects for these spatial, object, and attraction effects in addition to their mean reaction times (RTs). The spatial effect showed a strong positive correlation with mean RT and a strong negative correlation with the attraction effect. The analysis of individual differences suggests that slow subjects engage attention more strongly at the cued location than fast subjects. We compare this joint LMM analysis of experimental effects and associated subject-related variances and correlations with two frequently used alternative statistical procedures.

KEYWORDS:

individual differences; linear mixed model; object-based attention; spatial attention; visual attention

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