• The effect of periodicity on temporal attention

      Key, Mickeal Nelay (2014-12-09)
      Currently, there is a gap in the literature in terms of the relationship between implicit learning and temporal attention. This study set out to discover whether implicit learning could influence the modulation of temporal attention. Employing the Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) task, 42 volunteers from Indiana State University participated in the 45-minute experiment. The RSVP stream consisted of 11 uppercase letters, with a stimulus duration of 17ms and a presentation rate of 10Hz. Participants were asked to identify one blue target among 10 white distractors for 10 practice trials and 462 experimental trials. There were three independent variables. The first was Position were a target could appear in one of 5 positions in the RSVP stimulus stream. Three of these positions were considered “High-Frequency” and two of the positions were “Low-Frequency. The “Low-Frequency” positions occurred at a 1/3 of the frequency of the “High-Frequency positions”. The second variable was Jitter, were targets were manipulated so that they could appear 33 ms before, exactly at (0 ms), or 33 ms after the underlying 100 ms base periodicity. Periodicity was the third independent variable where participants were divided into two groups, Periodic or Non-Periodic. Those in the Periodic condition had distractors appear at regular 100ms intervals. Those in the Non-Periodic condition had distractors appear in an unpredictable pattern that averaged every 100 ms.. One outcome of the study was the replication of Position effects from a previous study, which supports the attentional awakening phenomenon for both conditions. A more significant outcome of the study was the provision of empirical support for the idea that periodicity is a iv factor that may influence implicit learning of temporal patterns. Results showed that target identification increased with the frequency of target occurrence at specific RSVP positions in the Periodic condition only. It seems periodicity aided participants in implicitly learning where targets were more likely to appear, thereby improving cognitive performance.