The effect of available choice on the cognitive processing of pictures

Kevin Wise, Kimberlee Pepple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores whether people orient to and encode pictures differently depending on whether the pictures were chosen from a limited or an extensive array of options. Participants viewed pictures on a computer as part of a within-subjects experiment (N = 43). In one condition, participants viewed pictures that they had chosen from a limited array of 6 options. In the other condition, participants viewed pictures chosen from an extensive array of 24 options. Heart rate and recognition served as indicators of orienting and encoding. Results showed that pictures chosen from limited options elicited orienting responses. Pictures chosen from extensive options, on the other hand, did not elicit orienting responses. Recognition was fastest and most accurate for pictures selected from limited options, suggesting that participants encoded them better. Based on these results, we suggest ways of conceptualizing the attributes of computer media that uniquely affect cognitive processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-402
Number of pages15
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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