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Hypothesis-driven research rests on clearly articulated scientific theories. The building blocks for communicating these theories are scientific terms. Obviously, communication - and thus, scientific progress - is hampered if the meaning of these terms varies idiosyncratically across (sub)fields and even across individual researchers within the same subfield. We have formed an international group of experts representing various theoretical stances with the goal to homogenize the use of the terms that are most relevant to fundamental research on visual distraction in visual search. Our discussions revealed striking heterogeneity and we had to invest much time and effort to increase our mutual understanding of each other's use of central terms, which turned out to be strongly related to our respective theoretical positions. We present the outcomes of these discussions in a glossary and provide some context in several essays. Specifically, we explicate how central terms are used in the distraction literature and consensually sharpen their definitions in order to enable communication across theoretical standpoints. Where applicable, we also explain how the respective constructs can be measured. We believe that this novel type of adversarial collaboration can serve as a model for other fields of psychological research that strive to build a solid groundwork for theorizing and communicating by establishing a common language. For the field of visual distraction, the present paper should facilitate communication across theoretical standpoints and may serve as an introduction and reference text for newcomers.

Original publication




Journal article


Atten Percept Psychophys

Publication Date



Adversarial collaboration, Definitions, Taxonomy, Visual distraction, Visual search