Visual Attention and Goal Pursuit: Deliberative and Implemental Mindsets Affect Breadth of Attention

Abstract

Mindset theory suggests that a deliberative mindset entails openness to information in one’s environment, whereas an implemental
mindset entails filtering of information. We hypothesized that this open- versus closed-mindedness influences individuals’
breadth of visual attention. In Studies 1 and 2, we induced an implemental or deliberative mindset, and measured breadth of
attention using participants’ length estimates of x-winged Müller-Lyer figures. Both studies demonstrate a narrower breadth
of attention in the implemental mindset than in the deliberative mindset. In Study 3, we manipulated participants’ mindsets
and measured the breadth of attention by tracking eye movements during scene perception. Implemental mindset participants
focused on foreground objects, whereas deliberative mindset participants attended more evenly to the entire scene. Our findings
imply that deliberative versus implemental mindsets already operate at the level of visual attention.

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