August 2010
Volume 10, Issue 7
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2010
Contingent attentional capture influences performance not only by depleting limited target processing resources, but also by changing attentional control settings
Author Affiliations
  • Katherine S. Moore
    Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
  • Elise F. Darling
    Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
  • Jillian B. Steinberg
    Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
  • Erika A. Pinsker
    Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
  • Daniel H. Weissman
    Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Journal of Vision August 2010, Vol.10, 113. doi:10.1167/10.7.113
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      Katherine S. Moore, Elise F. Darling, Jillian B. Steinberg, Erika A. Pinsker, Daniel H. Weissman; Contingent attentional capture influences performance not only by depleting limited target processing resources, but also by changing attentional control settings. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):113. doi: 10.1167/10.7.113.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

In some theories of visual search, detecting a potential target leads to a brief attentional enhancement of that item's representation in working memory, which likely includes information about the top-down attentional set that defines the item as a target. Given that the contents of working memory often guide attentional systems, we investigated whether such enhancements temporarily facilitate the selection of subsequent stimuli whose features match the same attentional set. Data from six experiments, in which multiple attentional sets for color guided target selection in a central RSVP stream, supported this hypothesis. In Experiment 1, a target-colored peripheral distractor produced 68% less capture when its color matched the same attentional set as that of an immediately upcoming target than when its color matched a different attentional set. In Experiment 2, we ruled out bottom-up perceptual priming of the target's color as an alternative account of this enhancement effect. In Experiment 3, the enhancement effect was reversed when a target-colored distractor was presented after (versus before) a target, thereby revealing that a distractor is most disruptive when its color matches a currently-enhanced attentional set. In Experiments 4 and 5, a target-colored central distractor not only facilitated the selection of an upcoming target whose color matched the same attentional set, but also prevented an intervening target-colored peripheral distractor from capturing attention, consistent with models in which only a single working memory representation can be enhanced at any given time. In Experiment 6, the enhancement effect was shown to depend critically on conscious perception of the leading target-colored item, which likely indexed whether that item's representation had been enhanced in working memory. Together, these findings indicate that contingent attentional capture influences performance not only by depleting limited target processing resources, but also by changing attentional control settings.

Moore, K. S. Darling, E. F. Steinberg, J. B. Pinsker, E. A. Weissman, D. H. (2010). Contingent attentional capture influences performance not only by depleting limited target processing resources, but also by changing attentional control settings [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 10(7):113, 113a, http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/7/113, doi:10.1167/10.7.113. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, Rackham Graduate Research Award, and Pillsbury Award to K.S.M.
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