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Yaffa Yeshurun; Differential effects of transient attention on adaptation to different spatial frequencies. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):129. doi: 10.1167/9.8.129.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
This study explores the effects of transient attention -the stimulus-driven component of spatial attention- on adaptation to different spatial frequencies: Can transient attention affect adaptation? If so, does it have a similar effect on adaptation to different frequencies? Previous studies demonstrated that sustained attention -the goal-directed component of spatial attention- increases adaptation effects, but does transient attention have a similar effect on adaptation?
To answer these questions, Gabor patches of high or low spatial frequency were employed as targets in two paradigms. In the adaptation trials of one paradigm, four targets are continuously presented. A peripheral attentional cue indicates the location of one of these targets, but only two locations may be indicated. The test trials require the detection of a single target appearing in one of the 4 locations. The other paradigm involves adaptation that accumulates over successive presentations. It required the detection of a single target appearing in one of 4 possible locations. The adaptation trials include a high-contrast target that is preceded by either a peripheral cue indicating one of 2 predefined locations, or a neutral cue indicating all 4 locations. The test trials include a low-contrast target that is always preceded by a neutral cue. These various trials are randomly intermixed. For both paradigms, the test-target orientation is either identical or orthogonal to that of the adaptation-targets, and the adaptation effect is the difference between detection of “identical” and ‘orthogonal‘ test-targets.
Adaptation effects were found for both frequency conditions in both paradigms, but they were differentially modulated by transient attention. Like sustained attention, transient attention amplified the high-frequency adaptation, yet no amplification was found for the low-frequency adaptation, and it even reversed in some cases. These findings will be discussed in relation to previous studies suggesting that transient attention favors parvocellular over magnocellular activity.
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