Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations

The Influence of Attentional Entrainment on Temporal and Spatial Predictions of Inferred Motion

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Richard Anderson (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Lisa Diane Martin (Other)

Third Advisor

Howard Cromwell (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Dale Klopfer (Committee Member)


The influence of attentional entrainment on the prediction of dynamic events was explored in three experiments utilizing inferred motion tasks in which a moving disc was visible for a predetermined period before disappearing for the remainder of its movement. In Experiments 1 participants were asked to observe a moving disc that was visible for 1000 ms prior to it moving behind one of three different sized occluded areas. During the period of invisibility, participants were exposed to one of two different isochronous auditory patterns (slow; fast), or they heard nothing. Participants were instructed to press a key to indicate when they believed the moving disc would reach a specific location on the other side of the occluded area. Time to contact was measured. The results of Experiment 1 revealed a significant interaction between the rate of the isochronous pulses and the size of the occlusion. In Experiment 2, the period of visibility was varied in order to keep the total movement time constant for all three levels of occlusion. The results of Experiment 2 replicated the results of Experiment 1 revealing a significant interaction between the rate of the isochronous pulses and the size of the occlusion. Finally, in Experiment 3, participants had to make spatial predictions by clicking the mouse cursor on the screen to indicate where they believed a briefly visible moving object would conclude its path. Preceding the initial movement of the disc, participants were exposed to the same auditory conditions used in Experiments 1 and 2. Accuracy was measured in the number of pixels above or below the actual location, that the cursor was clicked. The results of Experiment 3 revealed that entraining attention to the moment an object begins its movement does not influence the accuracy of spatial predictions when the moving object is only briefly visible. The results indicate that attentional entrainment to isochronous pulses of different rates during a prediction interval can influence the rate of imagined movement of the invisible object. However, entrainment prior to a briefly visible object’s initial movement does not appear to result in higher accuracy of spatial predictions.