Date of Award

12-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Schlesinger, Matthew

Abstract

Numerous theories have been developed in explanation of object perception, such as Feature Integration Theory, which posits that an object is perceived after two stages: a pre-attentive stage and a focused attention stage. It is during the focused attention stage that a representation of the perceived object is formed. Theories such as Object File Theory account for the maintenance of these object representations following their creation. Evidence for object file theory has been provided by studies of the object specific preview benefit. This dissertation seeks to examine the effect that dividing attention has on the maintenance of object representations. Using the tenets of object file theory and the cortical field hypothesis for dual task interference, it is hypothesized that differential effects can be found in the creation and maintenance of object representations. Specifically, by presenting participants with two simultaneous tasks which make use of overlapping cortical areas the object representation initially formed will be lost, resulting in the loss of the object specific preview benefit. In contrast, presenting participants with two simultaneous tasks which are associated with spatially separate, or non-overlapping, cortical regions will not result in the loss of the object specific preview benefit.

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