Attentional Capture by Superimposed Symbology: Boundary Conditions
ABSTRACT We report new results from an ongoing set of experiments in which subjects view a computer-generated display consisting of a set of stationary symbols (e.g., a "HUD") superimposed on a dynamic view of a runway as it appears to the pilot during final approach. Previous work (McCann, Foyle, & Johnston, 1993) has shown that when subjects process a cueing stimulus and then identify a geometric target, performance is slower when the cue appears on the HUD and the target appears on the runway surface, compared to a control condition where the cue and target are both on the runway surface. This "shift cost" was taken as evidence that the HUD captures attention, which then has to be shifted to the "out-the-world" scene before the target can be identified. New experiments show that the shift cost is eliminated when the cue occupies a known, fixed location on the HUD. Implications for the conditions that produce attentional tunneling are discussed.