August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
The spatial gradient of the spread of feature-based attention
Author Affiliations
  • Taosheng Liu
    Department of Psychology, Michigan State University
  • Irida Mance
    Department of Psychology, Michigan State University
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 145. doi:
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      Taosheng Liu, Irida Mance; The spatial gradient of the spread of feature-based attention. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):145.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Attending to a feature in one location can produce feature-specific modulation in a different location. This global feature-based attention effect has been commonly studied with two stimulus locations, one in each hemifield. With such a stimulus configuration, it is impossible to study the spatial profile for the spreading of feature-specific modulation.

We examined the spread of feature-based attention by measuring attentional modulation of motion aftereffect (MAE) at remote locations (Boynton, Ciaramitaro, & Arman, 2006). Observers viewed a stimulus composed of two overlapping dot fields that moved in opposite directions in the center of the screen (adapter). They attended to one of the dot fields by performing a two-interval forced choice task on its speed. Following the adapter, a single-direction dot field (test) appeared at one of six possible locations along the horizontal meridian (eccentricity: ±5, ±10, ±15 deg). The adapter and test did not spatially overlap. A nulling technique was used to measure the perceived stationary point (PSP). We also measured the baseline MAE effect for each location by presenting a single-direction adapter and test in that location. Attentional effect was quantified as a fraction of the baseline effect, to normalize against variation in adaptability across locations. Consistent with prior work, we found a global effect of feature-based attention (the PSP depended on the direction to which subjects attended to during adaptation). Importantly, the size of this effect was not spatially uniform, but showed a reduction with greater eccentricity.

These results show that the spreading of feature-specific modulation is not uniform across the visual field but has a measurable spatial gradient. Thus feature-based attention can be global, but is not completely location-independent.

Liu, T. Mance, I. (2009). The spatial gradient of the spread of feature-based attention [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):145, 145a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.145. [CrossRef]

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