Proofreaders Show a Generalized Ability to Allocate Spatial Attention to Detect Changes
M. Asano, S. Kanaya, & K. Yokosawa
In proofreading, attention must be allocated to the entire text in order to detect anomalous words within the sentence context. Because professional proofreaders have superior control of spatial attentional allocation, it is hypothesized that their skill may generalize to certain other tasks. To test this hypothesis, professional proofreaders were compared to novices using change blindness and visual search tasks. Results of the change blindness task showed that proofreaders detected more targets (non-predesignated scene changes) than novices by allocating attention to the entire scene. By contrast, novices' attention tended to be attracted to the upper part of visual scenes. Results of the visual search task, which involved counting predesignated targets, showed no performance differences between proofreaders and novices. This implies that proofreaders have a highly developed ability for spatial attentional allocation that is generally applicable to attentional demanding search situations where both detection targets and distractors are not predesignated.

Key words: attentional allocation, expertise, proofreading