The role of attention in the enumeration of canonical patterns.

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    • Abstract:
      We report novel findings from experiments on the enumeration of canonical patterns under attentional load. While previous studies have shown that the process of enumerating randomized arrangements can be disrupted by attentional load, the effect of attentional load on canonical patterns has been unexplored. To investigate this case, we adapted a spatial dual-task paradigm previously used to study attentional disruption during the enumeration of randomized arrangements. We begin by replicating previous findings for randomized arrangements, with enumeration error increasing with cluster numerosity and attentional load. For dice patterns, enumeration error also increased under attentional load. However, contrary to findings from studies on single-task enumeration of dice patterns, we observed conflation of patterns with similar outlines. In subsequent experiments, we manipulated the spatial location of the enumeration task, placing the dot cluster in the center. With centrally located, canonical patterns that remained in the same location across trials, enumeration accuracy was more consistent with results from single-task studies. We hypothesize that participants may be using shape cues to inform guessing during enumeration tasks when unable to both localize and fully attend to target patterns. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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