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Dominique Lamy, Tomer Carmel; Ignoring a salient distractor: feature-based inhibition or object-file updating?. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1347. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1347.
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The mechanisms that allow us to ignore salient visual information when it is irrelevant to the observer's attentional set have been debated. Using variants of Folk, Remington and Johnston’s (1992) spatial cueing task some authors have shown that in search for a color-defined target, an irrelevant-color precue does not affect performance (e.g., Folk & Remington, 1998), suggesting that it is simply filtered out. Others have reported a same-location cost: they showed that an irrelevant-color precue delays response when it appears at the same vs. at a different location relative to the target (e.g., Lamy & Egeth, 2003) and suggested that this effect reflects top-down inhibition of the ignored salient feature. Hidden formatting deleted. Delete this text! left;line-height:normal">In the present study we reevaluated these claims and delineated the boundary conditions of the same-location cost. We found that the same-location cost is largely independent of feature-based selection, suggesting that feature-based inhibition does not account for all the effect, if at all. In addition, the effect did not disappear when precue-to-target onset asynchrony was increased, thus precluding a masking account. Finally, the same-location cost was substantially reduced when the spatio-temporal continuity between the precue and target was disrupted. Although spatio-temporal object continuity and disruption thereof have been shown to have a cardinal impact on perception, their potential role in central findings of the attentional capture literature has not been considered. The present findings open the possibility that processes related to the updating of the information associated with an object across space and time may account for effects that have traditionally been attributed to goal-directed attention.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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