Optimizing the Use of Information: Strategic Control of Activation of Responses

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expectancies for noise, interference & choice of parallel vs focused phase for visual processing, adults

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Recent studies indicate that Ss may respond to visual information during either an early parallel phase or a later focused phase and that the selection of the relevant phase is data driven. Using the noise-compatability paradigm, the hypothesis that this selection may also be strategic and context driven was tested. At least part of the interference effect observed in this paradigm is due to response activation during the parallel-processing phase. Ss' expectancies for compatible and incompabile noise were manipulated in 4 experiments, and the interference effect was effectively modulated. The results suggest that expectancies about the relative utility of the information extracted during the parallel and focused phases determine which phase is used to activate responses.

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v. 121, issue 4, p. 480-506