Early and late selection: Visual letter confusions in a bar-probe task

  • van der Heijden A
  • Schreuder R
  • de Loor M
 et al. 
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This study is concerned with the early vs late selection issue in visual information processing. Early selection theories assert that selective attention operates in a stage containing rapidly decaying precategorical visual information. Late selection theories argue that selective attention operates in a stage containing abstract categorical information. A prediction following from the assumptions of early selection theories, but not from the assumptions of late selection theories, is that in partial-report bar-probe tasks the function relating the number of visual confusions, resulting from misidentification of the target, to probe delays has to exhibit an inverted-U shape. An experiment is reported in which this prediction was tested. A reliable inverted-U function was obtained. The total pattern of results supports the early selection theories for small probe delays, but for the larger probe delays adequate late selection has to be postulated. © 1987.

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  • Marjan HagenziekerDelft University of Technology Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

  • A. H C van der Heijden

  • R. Schreuder

  • M. de Loor

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