Department or Program



Clutter, defined as levels of disorder within a scene, has previously been shown to hinder visual search performance (Henderson et al., 2009). It is unclear whether subjective perception of clutter interacts with high-level scene organization such as scene size in modulating search efficacy. In the current study, utilizing an image set of clutter x size from Park et al. (2015), I found that increasing size in the most cluttered scene decreases search time, while increasing size in the least cluttered scene increases search time. Using eye-tracking data, fixation counts in target absent trial mimics reaction time (RT) data, confirming the interaction we observed is likely due to visual load, and that manipulating size in cluttered scenes influences attentional selection. Meanwhile, saccade initiation data provides no evidence that change in visual load after manipulating size happened during the transient, non-selective stage of attention, and an eccentricity-like analysis did not provide strong evidence that search efficacy degrades in different rates from foveal to peripheral vision across scene sizes. However, behavioral data showed similar interaction patterns with the parametric encoding of size and clutter in the hierarchical visual cortexes in Park et al. (2015): while V1 activated preferentially for more cluttered images, higher level areas such as LOC and FFA activated preferentially for smaller sizes. I speculate that the interaction between clutter and size in visual load can be driven by the opposite parametric encoding of size and clutter in later and earlier visual areas.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Houck, Lindsay

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

Final Thesis revised .pdf


Available to all on Saturday, May 03, 2025