Expertise prompts initial faster processing followed by increased short-term memory

Publication: Research - peer-reviewConference abstract in journal

Abstract

Attention is a process of prioritising cognitive recourses to task-relevant stimulus. A number of studies have demonstrated various processing limitations in attention; for example, visual short-term memory (VSTM) only retains a limited number of objects (Sperling, 1960). An increasing number of studies exploit formal models like Theory of Visual Attention (Bundesen, 1990) to investigate the modulation of attentional parameters in more specific detail (e.g. in synaesthesia; see Ásgeirsson, Nordfang & Sørensen, 2015). Previous studies (e.g. Chen, Eng & Jiang, 2006) have argued that capacity limitations are surprisingly robust and resilient to training and expertise. This notion has been challenged by recent studies on the noticeable influence of expertise on VSTM (Sørensen & Kyllingsbæk, 2012; Dall et all, 2016). The current study extends the results reported by Dall et al. (2016) on the influence of expertise on VSTM, into attention by analysing the processing speed and the threshold of visual attention as well as VSTM. The experiment was comprised by three conditions: two control conditions (line drawings and Latin letters) and a critical condition (Japanese hiragana). Three groups with varying degrees of expertise in Japanese reading participated: Danish students (novice), Danish students studying Japanese (trained), and Japanese students (expert). The results showed that while expertise enhanced VSTM only for the expert group, replicating our previous study (Dall et al., 2016), it did not affect the threshold for visual attention. Furthermore, the processing speed was significantly slower for the novice group, leaving the other two (trained and expert) groups about the same. The present results suggest that, while the processing speed is affected by expertise, the effects reach an asymptote long before changes in VSTM.
Close

Details

Attention is a process of prioritising cognitive recourses to task-relevant stimulus. A number of studies have demonstrated various processing limitations in attention; for example, visual short-term memory (VSTM) only retains a limited number of objects (Sperling, 1960). An increasing number of studies exploit formal models like Theory of Visual Attention (Bundesen, 1990) to investigate the modulation of attentional parameters in more specific detail (e.g. in synaesthesia; see Ásgeirsson, Nordfang & Sørensen, 2015). Previous studies (e.g. Chen, Eng & Jiang, 2006) have argued that capacity limitations are surprisingly robust and resilient to training and expertise. This notion has been challenged by recent studies on the noticeable influence of expertise on VSTM (Sørensen & Kyllingsbæk, 2012; Dall et all, 2016). The current study extends the results reported by Dall et al. (2016) on the influence of expertise on VSTM, into attention by analysing the processing speed and the threshold of visual attention as well as VSTM. The experiment was comprised by three conditions: two control conditions (line drawings and Latin letters) and a critical condition (Japanese hiragana). Three groups with varying degrees of expertise in Japanese reading participated: Danish students (novice), Danish students studying Japanese (trained), and Japanese students (expert). The results showed that while expertise enhanced VSTM only for the expert group, replicating our previous study (Dall et al., 2016), it did not affect the threshold for visual attention. Furthermore, the processing speed was significantly slower for the novice group, leaving the other two (trained and expert) groups about the same. The present results suggest that, while the processing speed is affected by expertise, the effects reach an asymptote long before changes in VSTM.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vision
ISSN1534-7362
StatePublished - 4 Sep 2017
EventAnnual Meeting of the Visual Science Society - St. Pete Beach, United States

Conference

ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Visual Science Society
Number17
LocationTradewinds Island Resorts
CountryUnited States
CitySt. Pete Beach
Period19/05/201724/05/2017
Internet address
ID: 249776512