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Publication Detail
The role of perceptual load in processing distractor faces.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Lavie N, Ro T, Russell C
  • Publisher:
    Blackwell Publishing
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    510, 515
  • Journal:
    Psychological Science
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Notes:
    Imported via OAI, 15:41:43 19th Jul 2007
It has been established that successful ignoring of irrelevant distractors depends on the extent to which the current task loads attention. However, the previous load studies have typically employed neutral distractor stimuli (e.g., letters). In the experiments reported here, we examined whether the perception of irrelevant distractor faces would show the same effects. We manipulated attentional load in a relevant task of name search by varying the search set size and found that whereas congruency effects from meaningful nonface distractors were eliminated by higher search load, interference from distractor faces was entirely unaffected by search load. These results support the idea that face processing may be mandatory and generalize the load theory to the processing of meaningful and more complex nonface distractors.
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