Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Buckolz, Eric


A series of experiments were conducted with the general theme and aim of exploring some of the yet to be determined properties of perceptual motor processing after-effects in visuo-spatial tasks. Using a variety paradigms, procedures and methods of analysis, numerous factors of interest were manipulated and examined to determine their implications related to how we process, store, make decisions and execute task requirements when presented with both relevant and irrelevant visuo-spatial information.

Experiment 1 investigated how distractor-generated response retrieval occurs; either via ‘inherent’ processing of high association strength links, or the application of task assignment rules (i.e., response selection determinants) for both visible and masked primes. Results indicated that visible prime distractors involved both response retrieval determinants; the inherent response being more highly activated and inhibited. Masked data also indicated that both retrieval determinants were involved, though not unequivocally.

Experiment 2 was concerned with the information storage and retrieval processing; namely, an episodic storage via indirect retrieval hypothesis was tested and supported. This experiment was unique in that it relied on a newly discovered inhibitory after-effect (Error Protection) to indicate indirect retrieval and episodic storage. It was also the first replication of this new inhibitory after-effect.

Experiment 3 aimed to determine whether relevant and irrelevant stimulus object features bind to each other and to their associated responses during perceptual processing in visuo-spatial tasks. Strong evidence of location (relevant) to response binding was observed in most cases; weak evidence of identity (irrelevant) to response binding was also observed in some instances.

Experiment 4 also examined feature binding, but in a different way. A cueing procedure allowed testing for whether the detrimental performance impact of binding violations could be modulated if the knowledge of the upcoming violation was given in advance. Although the cue information was used, data indicated that advanced knowledge of an impending violation did not reduce the violation’s latency increasing impact.

In sum, the combined findings from these Experiments extended upon previous related research, delineated some yet to be discovered properties of cognition and human information processing in the visuo-spatial field, and provided some needed first replications.