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James G. May, Kyriakos Tsiappoutas, Moira B. Flanagan; Attentional Capture: Is there a dynamic advantage?. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):825. doi: 10.1167/4.8.825.
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Pre-cuing a spatial location in the visual field results in faster reaction times for detecting a target presented at the pre-cued location. Some have suggested that this occurs because exogenous attention is captured by the pre-cued location. This attentional capture peaks at 100–200 msec and inhibition of return (IOR) then ensues. For motor systems it is well known that performance is facilitated if the system is in a dynamic state. For example, tennis players often bounce while awaiting a serve. In this study, we asked whether attentional capture behaves in a similar fashion. In the first experiment, we replicated previous results with a single pre-cued location and in the second experiment we used two sequential cues to see if attentional capture was facilitated at the second cued location. The subject's task was to fixate on a central point and indicate which of 4 peripheral locations (U, D, L, R) contained the target (the letter X). Cues and targets were presented equally often in one of the four locations (25% cue validity) and the duration of the first cue (Exp 1) or final cue (Exp. 2) was varied from 25–450 msec. The results of Experiment 1 indicated very little spatial facilitation (SF), but considerable IOR, but the results of Experiment 2 indicated enhanced SF with very little IOR. We concluded that there is a dynamic advantage for attentional capture.
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