Focused and divided attention in stereoscopic depth

Christopher D. Wickens, Arthur Kramer, John Andersen, Andria Glasser, Ken Sarno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Two experiments are described which examine the effect of distance in the depth plane, as defined operationally by binocular disparity, on focused and divided attention. In both experiments, disparity was manipulated with a Tektronix stereoscopic 3D display system. In Experiment 1 (focused attention), 10 subjects classified letter stimuli presented at zero disparity. The targets were surrounded by two irrelevant stimuli. Results demonstrate a fairly 'narrow' attentional bandwidth in depth for focused attention. In Experiment 2 (divided attention), 8 subjects performed a one-axis pursuit tracking task at 0 disparity, while concurrently responding to stimuli presented immediately below, and at 5 different depth planes. Results here suggest that in divided attention, where stimulus location is known in advance, the attentional bandwidth in depth is sufficiently broad to accomodate the same range of depth planes over which filtering had been observed in focused attention. When, however, the depth plane was randomized and unpredictable, evidence for a depth gradient of divided attention was found. Results are discussed in terms of attentional theory and the usefulness of stereoscopic displays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsJohn O. Merritt, Scott S. Fisher
PublisherPubl by Int Soc for Optical Engineering
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)0819403032
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990
EventStereoscopic Displays and Applications - Santa Clara, CA, USA
Duration: Feb 12 1990Feb 14 1990

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherStereoscopic Displays and Applications
CitySanta Clara, CA, USA


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Wickens, C. D., Kramer, A., Andersen, J., Glasser, A., & Sarno, K. (1990). Focused and divided attention in stereoscopic depth. In J. O. Merritt, & S. S. Fisher (Eds.), Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (pp. 28-34). (Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; Vol. 1256). Publ by Int Soc for Optical Engineering.