Do response time advantage and interference reflect the order of processing of global- and local-level information?
ABSTRACT Navon's (1977) global precedence hypothesis was based primarily on the joint occurrence of two effects: a response time (RT) advantage for identifying global targets, and interference by global distractors on responding to local targets. Although the hypothesis has been questioned on the basis of experiments in which it has been shown that a local RT advantage and local interference can occur, it is still frequently assumed that these two effects are a valid measure of the order in which local and global levels of structure are processed. In the present experiment, this assumption was examined. Subjects identified target letters that occurred randomly at the global or local level in a divided-attention task. The visual angle subtended by the stimulus pattern was varied, a manipulation known to affect the relative speed of response to local- or global-level information. Local targets were identified faster than global targets at the larger visual angles, but there was no difference in RT at the smallest visual angle. Despite this change in RT advantage, the interference effect did not change as a function of the visual angle of the stimulus pattern. Moreover, global distractors interfered with responding to local targets but local targets had no effect on responding to global targets, which is exactly the opposite of the finding one would expect if RT advantage and interference reflected order of processing. These findings are not consistent with the assumption that RT advantage and interference reflect order of processing in a simple way.
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ABSTRACT: Differential processing of local and global visual features is well established. Global precedence effects, differences in event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited when attention is focused on local versus global levels, and hemispheric specialization for local and global features all indicate that relative scale of detail is an important distinction in visual processing. Observing analogous differential processing of local and global auditory information would suggest that scale of detail is a general organizational principle of the brain. However, to date the research on auditory local and global processing has primarily focused on music perception or on the perceptual analysis of relatively higher and lower frequencies. The study described here suggests that temporal aspects of auditory stimuli better capture the local-global distinction. By combining short (40 ms) frequency modulated tones in series to create global auditory patterns (500 ms), we independently varied whether pitch increased or decreased over short time spans (local) and longer time spans (global). Accuracy and reaction time measures revealed better performance for global judgments and asymmetric interference that were modulated by amount of pitch change. ERPs recorded while participants listened to identical sounds and indicated the direction of pitch change at the local or global levels provided evidence for differential processing similar to that found in ERP studies employing hierarchical visual stimuli. ERP measures failed to provide evidence for lateralization of local and global auditory perception, but differences in distributions suggest preferential processing in more ventral and dorsal areas respectively.Neuropsychologia 04/2007; 45(6):1172-86. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.10.010
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ABSTRACT: We report a study on a patient (DW) with integrative visual agnosia and a category-specific recognition impairment for living things. We assessed DW's local and global processing and tested if his integrative agnosia could have led directly to his category-specific impairment. The main findings were: (i) DW was faster at identifying local compared to global letters. (ii) DW showed no local-to-global (or global-to-local) interference effects in selective attention tasks. (iii) DW showed a congruency effect in a divided attention task, suggesting that, when his attention was cued to both levels, he could process information simultaneously and integrate local and global information. (iv) Controls were poorer at naming nonliving compared to living things when presented with silhouettes. These data suggest that local and global information are differentially weighted in the visual recognition of living and nonliving things, and that an impairment in processing the overall shape of an object can lead to a category-specific deficit for living things. Crucially, this implies that category-specific impairments do not necessarily reflect damage to the semantic system, and models of semantic memory based on this assumption need to be revised.Neuropsychologia 02/2006; 44(6):982-6. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2005.09.005
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ABSTRACT: When processing global and local aspects of compound visual figures, a robust finding is that global targets are detected faster and more accurately than local targets. Moreover, unidirectional interference is often observed. Despite the convincing evidence that global information and local information are available together, when attention is focused on the global level, items from the local level often have very little, if any, effect on behavior. If local information is available with global information, then why is global dominance so often observed under such a wide range of conditions? This paper is concerned with the fate of the ignored, and apparently ineffective, local distractors. In our experiments, at least one critical factor was stimulus-response (S-R) mapping. We compared a consistent S-R task, which facilitated a speed advantage for global, with a variable S-R task, which required a higher degree of semantic analysis for each stimulus. The two tasks produced large differences in behavior, showing unidirectional interference in the consistent S-R task, and strong bidirectional interference in the variable S-R task. Thus, the identity of ignored local distractors was available, even under conditions that favored focused attention to global information. The results provide support for a model in which global processing proceeds more quickly at early perceptual stages and in which local processing can catch up if processing demands are increased at later stages.Perception & Psychophysics 03/2001; 63(2):241-52. DOI:10.3758/BF03194465