August 2010
Volume 10, Issue 7
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2010
Attention capture by an invisible flicker not in the middle of gamma range
Author Affiliations
  • Ming Zhang
    Department of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin, China
  • Yang Zhang
    Department of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin, China
    Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Sheng He
    Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Journal of Vision August 2010, Vol.10, 118. doi:10.1167/10.7.118
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      Ming Zhang, Yang Zhang, Sheng He; Attention capture by an invisible flicker not in the middle of gamma range. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):118. doi: 10.1167/10.7.118.

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Abstract

It was recently reported that a subliminalflicker could trigger attentional selection at the target location (Bauer et al, PNAS 2009). They specifically attributed this effect to the middle of gamma range (50Hz) since they failed to find such effect with flickers slower than 35-Hz. However, it is possible that rendering a flicker signal subliminal by lowering its contrast resulted in more severe loss of effective neural contrast for a 30 Hz flicker than a 50 Hz flicker. To test this possibility, we used flicker contrast reduction combined with spatial crowding to render a flicker signal subliminal. This approach allowed a subliminal flicker to maintain substantial contrast. Specifically, a 30 Hz flicker Gabor patch and a non-flickering control were presented one to the left and one to the right of the fixation, both surrounded by four static Gabor patches. Subjects performed at chance level in 2AFC task detecting which side had the flickering signal. However, in a modified Posner cueing paradigm, subjects responded faster to a probe target presented at the 30 Hz subliminal flicker location than the control location. In a follow-up experiment, when the probe target appeared at the non-flickering control location in 80% of the trials and subjects were instructed to use this information to direct their attention, the side with the subliminal flicker still showed a benefit effect. Together these results show that a subliminal flicker can capture spatial attention and the flicker frequency does not need to be in the middle of the gamma range.

Zhang, M. Zhang, Y. He, S. (2010). Attention capture by an invisible flicker not in the middle of gamma range [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 10(7):118, 118a, http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/7/118, doi:10.1167/10.7.118. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 This work was supported by a China National Science Foundation [grant number 30770717] research grant awarded to Ming Zhang and a China National Science Foundation [30700229] research grant awarded to Sui Jie.
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