Load theory of selective attention and the role of perceptual load: Is it time for revision?

Neha Khetrapal*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Perceptual load hypothesis is proposed as a compromise between early and late theory of selective attention which states that the selection will operate early when the load on perception is high and it will operate late when the load on perception is low. Experimental findings have shown that the perceptual load hypothesis is too simplistic in nature as perceptual load is not the only determinant of selection processes. It is difficult to apply the load hypothesis to explain the occurrence of early selection in low load displays as well as the selection processes that operate on distractor and target stimuli that are a part of the same object. Factors like spatial proximity, cues that manipulate the spatial extent of attentional focus, salience of targets as well as the distractors, and perceptual grouping between the target and the distractors should be taken into account while explaining the selective control of attention. Thus, the perceptual load of the display is one such factor that affects selective attention and goal-directed behaviour, but it is not the only factor to affect the selective control of attention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-156
    Number of pages8
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
    Volume22
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

    Keywords

    • Goal-directed behaviour
    • Perceptual load hypothesis
    • Selective control of attention

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