Psychology Research Paper on Visual Onset and Attention


A statistical proof to determine attention is automatically captured by visual concept was carried out. A cue located at the centre literally guided influenced ones attention in choosing their target. An onset was either found in one of the intended subject or distractors in every research. Distortion of the cue’s effectiveness was done to test whether attention is captured by abrupt onset even in cases there are high attention rate. Outcomes showed that observer’s intentions are not distorted by onsets. A proposal to formulate a way of having automatic attention capture based on onset is put into consideration. It is evident that sudden emergence of an object indeed draws attention. In summary,speed and quality of visual processing if determined by internal and exter

Visual Onset and Attention


It is normal for one to be affected by environmental factors which influence their concentration or attention level. This environmental factors may be emotional say a feeling of happiness or sadness, physical, say an audio destruction from drums or loud music or even visual like flashing of light or screen appearance. Attention level varies between individuals but it is common for one to find themselves in a situation where their attention is compromised.

Examining individual’s attention can be done in many ways including written tests, audio or physical reaction tests. It is worth noting proper attention is realised when individuals are in good mind state and not when they are in a panic mood or high in emotions like anger. Good attention test is that which involves body and mind reaction combined. Individuals with high attention level have been found to achieve much as compared to those with low attention level. Those who are poor in paying attention have been found to misinterpret concepts or carry them out in undesired manner. Disruption is a major component known to affect one’s attention regardless of their rating in paying attention. It is due to this concern about the magnitude of disruption in attention level that a study was carried to investigate the same.


Six conditions were studied in which a letters U, S, P and E or H being targeted. In test one there was sudden onset on every trial while informative central cue was not there. The mean where sudden on-set was available turned out to be a bit large than the mean where sudden on-set was missing. In the second scenario, sudden on-set was just available in six out of thirty two trials and like in case one, informative central cue was missing (Yantis &Jonides1990). In this test, the mean where we have distractor sudden on-set is observed to be higher than in cases of baseline.

In the third observation, the target was always pointed by the central arrow cue and the abrupt on-set was always showed in all trials. With the target being pointed by the central cue and the sudden on-test appearing in six out of thirty two observations, the fourth scenario was recorded (Atchley, Kramer, & Hillstrom2000). The fifth condition involved a situation where the target remained at the same position at all times but sudden on-set was in all trials. The last occasion saw the target appearing on the same place where as the on-set appeared in six occasions out of the thirty two. It is worth noting that this occasion recorded the lowest time in reaction to the challenge.


Without relying on the findings of the test, we can hypothesise that attention is mostly focused on something that more or less gives a guideline or influences outcome. An occasion that calls for focus of mind or even the eyes or ears is most likely to draw more keenness.On the other hand, distraction is one factor that affects the attention level of individuals when carrying out their tasks. From the study it is clear that in occasions where there is a distraction, the time to carry out the task is a bit more than in occasions when there are no distracters (Fischer & Zwaan, 2008). This may be explained by the fact that distractions may affect how individuals concentrate in carrying out certain tasks.

In occasion one, the results from the research shows that abrupt on-set causes a small difference in mean reaction time. This confirms that distractor has an effect in attention however though the impact is not that huge as the results suggests. The second scenario where there are only six distractors, it is observed that there is a slight increase in reaction time than in the first occasion. This is attributed by the reduction of on-set destructors which in return increases reaction time.The third occasion gives rather a huge difference in time reaction as compared to first and second occasions. It is obvious that the consistent appearance of the target helped in time reduction when the test is being carried out.

Furthermore. time is reduced by the fact that sudden on-set appeared in all occasions. This shows that attention is mostly focused on events that tend to show guidelines or suggest solution. With the target being constantly pointed, it is easier for respondents to react to the required test appropriately. On the same observation, in the events where we have distractors, reaction time is a bit higher as compared to occasions of the baseline. The difference is not that huge but indeed the results confirm that distractors cause a relatively minor delay in swiftness when reacting to an occasion (Bertamini & Kubovy, 2006). The fourth scenario indicates that the target is pointed by central cue and on-set distractors on six occasions consequently showing a decrease in time reaction than all the other examined occasions. The outcome can be attributed by the fact that with time, the respondents are getting familiar with reaction of occasions. It can also be attributed to the fact that the attention level of respondents is gradually improving and more so boosted by the guidelines of central cue.

With the fifth occasion characterised by the constant location of the target on the same place and on-set appearing in each trial, there was a relatively huge reduction of time for reaction than in all other observation. This can be explained by the fact that attention of the respondent is caught since the target is fixed on one place hence one just needs to concentrate on one particular area. The attention of the respondents is furthermore confirmed to improve since the presence of on-set distractors does not deter them much in reacting to the challenge (Jonides & Yantis, 1988). However, distraction proofs to affect attention since when there is distraction, the reaction time is relatively than when the reverse is the case.

The last occasion involved a situation where the target is constantly in one place all through with distractor on-set being in six out of thirty two occasions. The outcome is this observation records the lowest time reaction than in all other observation with relatively a huge margin. This may be thought to be influenced by the fact that the respondents have gradually become used to this exercise hence not given much problem by the on-set distractors appearing in some occasions (Jonides & Yantis, 1988). The appearance of the target all through also makes the work easier for respondents. However, the magnitude of distraction is seen even in this study with occasions where there is on-set distraction recording slightly high time in reaction.


From the above study, it is clear that distractors affect the swiftness in response to a particular event. The magnitude of distraction matters with cases of more distraction lowering the attention of the concerned parties or individuals. On the hand, it can be noted that the magnitude caused by distraction reduces with time as parties become used or familiar with occasions causing distractions. The level of attention can also be said to concentrate more on strong or suggestive areas in any case study. This is owing to the fact that suggestive areas tend to influence the direction the decision is likely to take hence more attention is put there to give a clear insight.




Atchley, P., Kramer, A. F. & Hillstrom, A. P. (2000). Contingent capture for onsets and offsets: Attentional set for perceptual transients. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance.

Bertamini, M. & Kubovy, M. (2006). Human perception. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate.

Fischer, M. & Zwaan, R. (2008). Grounding cognition in perception and action. Hove: Psychology.

Jonides, J. & Yantis, S. (1988). Uniqueness of abrupt visual onset in capturing attention. Perception & Psychophysics.

Yantis, S. & Jonides, J. (1990). Abrupt visual onsets and selective attention: Voluntary versus automatic allocation. Journal of ExperimentalPsychology: Human Perception &Performance.