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Luke Tudge, Torsten Schubert; Accessory stimuli speed reaction times and reduce distraction in a target-distractor task. Journal of Vision 2016;16(7):11. doi: 10.1167/16.7.11.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Eye movements in a visual search task are drawn towards items irrelevant to the search (distractors). Advance information about the position or features of distractors can reduce this effect, by speeding the resolution of conflict between search target and distractor. The present study investigated whether this can also be achieved by a prime that merely warns of an impending task without providing any other information (an accessory stimulus). We found that accessory stimuli speed the initiation of a saccade to the target, but also speed the resolution of target-distractor conflict. This finding suggests that the oculomotor system can be prepared to counteract distraction in advance of task onset, without requiring information about a specific spatial location or feature.
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