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Benjamin D. Lester, Paul Dassonville; Shifts of visuospatial attention do not cause the spatial distortions of the Roelofs effect. Journal of Vision 2013;13(12):4. doi: 10.1167/13.12.4.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
When a visible frame is offset left or right of an observer's objective midline, subjective midline is pulled toward the frame's center, resulting in an illusion of perceived space known as the Roelofs effect. However, a large frame is not necessary to generate the effect—even a small peripheral stimulus is sufficient, raising the possibility that the effect would be brought about by any stimulus that draws attention away from the midline. To assess the relationship between attention and distortions of perceived space, we adopted a paradigm that included a spatial cue that attracted the participant's attention, and an occasional probe whose location was to be reported. If shifts of attention cause the Roelofs effect, the probe's perceived location should vary with the locus of attention. Exogenous attentional cues caused a Roelofs-like effect, but these cues created an asymmetry in the visual display that may have driven the effect directly. In contrast, there was no mislocation after endogenous cues that contained no asymmetry in the visual display. A final experiment used color-contingent attentional cues to eliminate the confound between cue location and asymmetry in the visual display, and provided a clear demonstration that the Roelofs effect is caused by an asymmetric visual display, independent of any shift of attention.
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