People pay more attention to the upper half of field of vision, study finds

by Matt Shipman
Researchers tested people's ability to quickly identify a target amidst visual clutter, and found that people pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision. Credit: Jing Feng

(Medical Xpress)—A new study from North Carolina State University and the University of Toronto finds that people pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision – a finding which could have ramifications for traffic signs to software interface design.

"Specifically, we tested people's ability to quickly identify a target amidst visual clutter," says Dr. Jing Feng, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. "Basically, we wanted to see where people concentrate their attention at first glance."

Researchers had participants fix their eyes on the center of a computer screen, and then flashed a target and distracting symbols onto the screen for 10 to 80 milliseconds. The screen was then replaced by an unconnected "mask" image to disrupt their train of thought. Participants were asked to indicate where the target had been located on the screen.

Researchers found that people were 7 percent better at finding the target when it was located in the upper half of the screen.

"It doesn't mean people don't pay attention to the lower , but they were demonstrably better at paying to the upper field," Feng says.

"A difference of 7 percent could make a for technologies that are safety-related or that we interact with on a regular basis," Feng says. "For example, this could make a difference in determining where to locate traffic signs to make them more noticeable to drivers, or where to place important information on a website to highlight that information for users."

More information: The paper, "Upper Visual Field Advantage in Localizing a Target among Distractors," is published online in the open-access journal i-Perception. i-perception.perceptionweb.com… l/I/article/i0625rep

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New simulator for older drivers is put to the test

Apr 16, 2014

University of Adelaide researchers are hoping that a new computer-based driving simulation will help lead to accurate, low-cost testing of older drivers' ability to stay safe on the roads.

Recommended for you

Dyscalculia: Burdened by blunders with numbers

15 hours ago

Between 3 and 6% of schoolchildren suffer from an arithmetic-related learning disability. Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich now show that these children are also more likely to exhibit deficits ...

Free help for expecting and new mums at risk of depression

17 hours ago

With postnatal depression affecting almost one in seven women giving birth in Australia, QUT and the White Cloud Foundation have launched an innovative model of care to provide early access to treatment for expecting and ...

A blood test for suicide?

21 hours ago

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress reactions that, if confirmed in larger studies, could give doctors a simple blood test to reliably predict a ...

User comments