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Handling editor: Rubi Hammer (University of Illinois); Reviewers: Heidi Kloos (University of Cincinnati), Shlomit Yuval-Greenberg (Tel Aviv University).
By allocating less attention to predictable events we are able to focus on novel, unpredictable and unexpected events that require more extensive processing. This strategy should result in improved performance by optimizing the use of brain’s limited resources. Participants’ task was to look at two types of stimuli presented simultaneously at the opposite sides of a computer screen: “static” stimuli, i.e. emotionally neutral photographs; and “dynamic” stimuli, i.e. video clips presenting a moving dot. The dot moved along a predictable, semi-predictable or random trajectory. This was followed by a memory test of the static stimuli. Participants spent more time looking at the dynamic stimuli when its trajectory was less predictable. Additionally, participants who readily adjusted their dwell time allocation to the dot trajectory performed better in the memory test, as demonstrated by a positive correlation between memory test sensitivity and the rate of eye movement patterns adjustment to stimulus predictability. This suggests that people adjust gaze duration to stimulus predictability and that doing so optimizes attentional resource allocation and improves performance. However, study design did not allow to distinguish between spatial and temporal predictability, so it is impossible to estimate the impact of each type of predictability specifically.
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- The role of stimulus predictability in the allocation of attentional resources: an eye-tracking study
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg