Introduction: In this study, we investigated the distraction power of the unusual and usual images on the attention of 20 healthy primary school children.
Methods: Our study was different from previous ones in that the participants were asked to fix the initial position of their attention on a pre-defined location after being presented with unusual images as distractors. The goals were presented in locations, which were far from the attraction basin of distractors. Our expectation was that the pre-orienting of the attention to the position of targets can reduce the attractive effect of unusual images compared to the usual ones. The percentage of correct responses and the reaction time have been measured as behavioral indicators of attention performance.
Results: Results showed that using the goal-directed attention, subjects ignored both kinds of distractors nearly the same way.
Conclusion: With regard to previous reports about the more attraction towards the unusual images, it is suggested that the dynamics of the visual attention system be sensitive to the initial condition. That is, changing the initial position of the attention can lead to the decrement of the unusual images’ effects. However, several other possibilities such as a probable delay in processing unusual features could explain this observation, too.