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Sabine Born, Dirk Kerzel, Ulrich Ansorge; Feature-based effects in the coupling between attention and saccades. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1000. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1000.
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Previous research has demonstrated that prior to saccade execution visual attention is imperatively shifted towards the saccade target (e.g. Deubel & Schneider, 1996; Kowler, Anderson, Dosher, & Blaser, 1995). Typically, observers had to make a saccade according to an arrow cue and simultaneously perform a perceptual discrimination task either at the saccade target location or elsewhere on the screen. Discrimination performance was poor if the location of the saccade target and the discrimination target did not coincide. In the current experiments, we examined how feature-based attention may influence attentional allocation just before a saccade. In a first experiment, we randomly varied the colors of the saccade target and the perceptual discrimination target. Results show that discrimination performance was slightly, but not greatly improved when the color of the discrimination target matched the color of the saccade target. Thus, although perceptual performance at the saccade target location was facilitated, selection of an object as saccade target may not automatically induce display-wide enhanced processing of saccade target features or attentional capture by stimuli sharing saccade target features. We further examined whether feature-based attention may be strategically used to de-couple attention-for-perception and attention-for-action. We used a constant color to guide feature-based attention towards the discrimination target while at the same time a saccade had to be prepared either towards or away from the discrimination target according to a central arrow cue. The constant color greatly improved discrimination performance, even when the location of the saccade target and the discrimination target did not coincide. In contrast to previous studies, however, we also observed improved performance when the discrimination target was presented at a constant position. Our findings are discussed in terms of interactions between spatial attention, feature-based attention and attention-for-action.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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