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Yaffa Yeshurun; Transient attention and selective adaptation to high and low spatial frequencies. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):223. doi: 10.1167/6.6.223.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Several studies have demonstrated that sustained attention -the voluntary component of spatial attention- can modulate effects of adaptation. Typically, attending to the adaptation stimulus increases adaptation effects. In comparison to sustained attention, our knowledge regarding adaptation and transient attention -the involuntary component of spatial attention- is scarce at best. This study explores the effects of transient attention on adaptation to low and high spatial frequency: Can transient attention affect adaptation? If so, does it affect differently the adaptation to stimuli of different spatial frequencies?
To answer these questions, four Gabor patches, of high (8-cpd) or low (0.25-cpd) spatial frequency, are simultaneously presented throughout the adaptation phase. Additionally, a peripheral cue, known to automatically attract transient attention, indicates one of the four possible locations. Two locations may be indicated by the cue, and the rest are never indicated by the cue. In the test phase, observers detect the presence of a single Gabor patch appearing in one of the four locations, whose frequency is identical to that of the adaptation phase, but with either identical or orthogonal orientation.
Adaptation effects were found for both high- and low-frequency conditions, but they were differentially modulated by transient attention: High-frequency adaptation was more pronounced at the cued than the non-cued locations, as was found with sustained attention. However, no such amplification was found for the low-frequency adaptation, and it even reversed in some cases. These findings will be discussed in relation to the hypothesis that transient attention favors parvocellular over magnocellular activity.
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