Does apparent size capture attention in visual search? Evidence from the Muller-Lyer illusion

M. J. Proulx, M. Green
2011 Journal of Vision  
Is perceived size a crucial factor for the bottom-up guidance of attention? Here, a visual search experiment was used to examine whether an irrelevantly longer object can capture attention when participants were to detect a vertical target item. The longer object was created by an apparent size manipulation, the Müller-Lyer illusion; however, all objects contained the same number of pixels. The vertical target was detected more efficiently when it was also perceived as the longer item that was
more » ... nger item that was defined by apparent size. Further analysis revealed that the longer Müller-Lyer object received a greater degree of attentional priority than published results for other features such as retinal size, luminance contrast, and the abrupt onset of a new object. The present experiment has demonstrated for the first time that apparent size can capture attention and, thus, provide bottom-up guidance on the basis of perceived salience.
doi:10.1167/11.13.21 pmid:22114313 fatcat:gwl37u75c5gz3mnropamdvuv5y