Imagine you look at a physical scene that has a single, central object and has other, irrelevant items on the periphery. Now imagine you view that same scene as a photograph. Would you value that central object the same? Would it make a difference if the object was placed out of your reach? These were just some of the questions a team of researchers from the University of Nevada at Reno sought to explore.
In papers recently published in the journals Psychological Sciences and Cortex, the research team examined how much attention the brain allocates to a central object when viewed in person and then viewed in a photograph. In another study, the team analyzed what value the participants placed on the central object when seen in front of them as well as in a picture.
The findings revealed that the real, physical objects competed for more of our attention (via EEG brain activity) than did the objects in the photograph. Further, participants placed a higher value on the objects when they were physically in front of them as opposed to being in the picture. The researchers noticed, however, the attention, as well as the higher valuations, dropped when the central object was out of the physical reach of the participant.
Where these findings will need replication, they present an interesting twist on how our brains allocate attention and perceive value to objects. These results have the potential to influence everything from in-store displays to the placement of objects in a virtual reality (VR) world. Perhaps this is why we don’t like -quite literally- objects that are out of our reach…
This was Article 81 from the Studio Quick Facts Series.
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University of Nevada, Reno (2017, December 15). Graspable Objects Grab Attention More Than Images of Objects Do. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved December 15, 2017 from http://neurosciencenews.com/graspable-objects-attention-8197/