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    Humans can efficiently look for but not select multiple visual objects

    Ort, E. and Fahrenfort, J.J. and ten Cate, T. and Eimer, Martin and Olivers, C.N.L. (2019) Humans can efficiently look for but not select multiple visual objects. eLife 8 , e49130. ISSN 2050-084X.

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    The human brain recurrently prioritizes task-relevant over task-irrelevant visual information. A central question is whether multiple objects can be prioritized simultaneously. To answer this, we let observers search for two colored targets among distractors. Crucially, we independently varied the number of target colors that observers anticipated, and the number of target colors actually used to distinguish the targets in the display. This enabled us to dissociate the preparation of selection mechanisms from the actual engagement of such mechanisms. Multivariate classification of electroencephalographic activity allowed us to track selection of each target separately across time. The results revealed only small neural and behavioral costs associated with preparing for selecting two objects, but substantial costs when engaging in selection. Further analyses suggest this cost is the consequence of neural competition resulting in limited parallel processing, rather than a serial bottleneck. The findings bridge diverging theoretical perspectives on capacity limitations of feature-based attention.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Research Article, Neuroscience, feature-based attention, visual search, attentional template, multiple targets, EEG, MVPA, Human
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    SWORD Depositor: Mr Joe Tenant
    Depositing User: Mr Joe Tenant
    Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 07:43
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:53


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