ECVP 2011 Abstract

Cite as:
Gauchou H, Rensink R, 2011, "Stress and visual Search" Perception 40 ECVP Abstract Supplement, page 108

Stress and visual Search

H Gauchou, R Rensink

Previous studies have obtained contradictory conclusions regarding the effect of stress on visual attention. Some have reported that stress narrows attentional focus (Callaway and Dembo, 1958 Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 79 74–90); others have reported that stress causes a broadening of attention (Braunstein-Bercovitz, 2003 Anxiety, Stress, and Coping 16(4) 345–357). To help resolve this situation, this study assessed the effect of mild stress on visual search. Two different conditions were used: short line among long lines, and long line among short lines. Prior to each task participants performed either easy (low stress) or difficult (high stress) math tasks (and were told that a debriefing (low stress) or a videotaped interview (high stress) would follow the experiment. The Short Stress State Questionnaire (Helton, 2004 Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 48 1238–1242) measured stress induction effectiveness. Results show no difference in accuracy for different stress levels, but significantly faster response times and lower search slopes for the high-stress condition.

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[Publisher's note: The abstracts in this year's ECVP supplement have been published with virtually no copy editing by Pion, thus the standards of grammar and style may not match those of regular Perception articles.]