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Publication Detail
Musical expertise modulates the effects of visual perceptual load
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Ro T, Friggel A, Lavie N
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    671, 674
  • Journal:
    Perception and Psychophysics
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
Several studies have demonstrated that faces are processed differently from other types of objects, implicating a special role of faces within the human visual system. However, other studies have suggested that faces may only be special in that they comprise a highly familiar category of visual objects with which most humans have expertise. In this study, we tested a group of expert musicians on a musical instrument classification task while presenting irrelevant images of musical instruments as visual distractors under varying conditions of perceptual load. Unlike non-musicians, the musicians processed these irrelevant images of musical instruments even under conditions of high perceptual load. These results suggest that musical instruments are processed automatically and without capacity limits in subjects with musical expertise and implicate a specialized processing mechanism for objects of high familiarity.
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