The Role of Attention on Scene Recognition

Berhan Şenyazar, Albert Ali Salah & İnci Ayhan

In collaboration with Assoc Prof Albert Ali Salah

It has been shown that little if any attention is required for scene recognition (Li, VanRullen, Koch, & Perona, 2002). The absence of the role of attention in scene recognition, however, has been challenged by Cohen, Alvarez, & Nakayama (2011) showing that basic-level scene categorization and object identification performance degrade while simultaneously performing an attention-demanding task. Here, we use the same dual-task paradigm, but in a broader range of scene recognition tasks, including detection, recognition of spatial envelope and scene function, superordinate- and basic-level categorizations. While performing a recognition task on scene images embedded in a stream of masking patterns (Greene, & Oliva, 2009), participants simultaneously tracked multiple discs. For each task, target and distractor images were presented for seven duration levels (11.7-117ms). At the end of each trial, yes/no answers were reported for both tracking and scene recognition tasks. Data points were fit into a Weibull function to determine the minimum duration at which the percentage of correct answers reached 75%. D-prime values confirmed that the recognition tasks were more difficult for participants in dual-task than in control blocks. For all recognition tasks, there was a trend of higher presentation duration thresholds in dual-task blocks relative to baselines.