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Nicholas Gaspelin, Carly Leonard, Steven Luck; Suppression of Covert and Overt Attentional Capture. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):189. doi: 10.1167/16.12.189.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
For over two decades, researchers have debated the nature of cognitive control in the guidance of visual attention. Stimulus-driven theories claim that salient stimuli automatically capture attention, whereas goal-driven theories propose that an individual's intentions determine whether salient stimuli capture attention. Problematically, both theories make the exact opposite prediction about when to expect capture in the real-world. To remedy this conflict, we propose a hybrid model called the signal suppression model, which claims that all stimuli automatically generate a salience signal. However, this signal can be actively suppressed by top-down attentional mechanisms. The current research provides converging evidence for the signal suppression hypothesis using two different paradigms, one that measures covert attention by means of psychophysical methods and another that measures overt attention by means of eye tracking. Both approaches showed that—under appropriate conditions (feature search mode)—the processing of a salient distractor is suppressed below the baseline of non-salient distractor objects.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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