Catalog Home Page

Linear changes in the spatial extent of the focus of attention across time

Jefferies, L.N. and Di Lollo, V. (2009) Linear changes in the spatial extent of the focus of attention across time. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35 (4). pp. 1020-1031.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


This research examined changes in the spatial extent of focal attention over time. The Attentional Blink (impaired perception of the second of two targets) and Lag-1 sparing (the seemingly paradoxical finding that second-target accuracy is high when the second target immediately follows the first) were employed in a dual-stream paradigm to index spatiotemporal changes in focal attention. Lag-1 sparing occurs to targets in different streams if the second target falls within the focus of attention. Focal attention is assumed to initially encompass both streams but to shrink rapidly to the first-target stream, thus withdrawing from the second target if it appears in the opposite stream. The time available for the focus to shrink before second target onset was manipulated by varying the stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) between successive items in the stream. There was a progressive transition from Lag-1 sparing to its converse (Lag-1 deficit) as the SOA was increased. This transition was related linearly to SOA, which suggests that the spatial extent of focal attention varies linearly over time.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Copyright: © 2009 American Psychological Association
Item Control Page Item Control Page