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Zhe Chen; Feature binding through anticipatory inhibition. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):560. doi: 10.1167/8.6.560.
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The present study investigates the binding of features when active inhibition is applied to one dimension of an attended non-target object. In a series of experiments, participants made speeded responses to the color (red vs. green) or orientation (left vs. right) of a target on different trials. The target was preceded by a two-dimensional negative cue whose relevant dimension matched the target response on 33.3% of the trials. Of particular interest was whether the irrelevant dimension of the cue would be inhibited along with its relevant dimension, and whether inhibition would be applied at a feature level (with the individual features unbound) or at an object level (with the individual features bound).
The results show that participants' reaction times were influenced by both the relevant and irrelevant dimensions of the cue, suggesting that inhibition was applied to the object features regardless of their task relevancy. Furthermore, the inhibitory effect of the irrelevant dimension was observed only when the cue and target could be perceived as the same object, suggesting that inhibition was applied at an object level. The results are interpreted with reference to the theoretical frameworks of object files (Kahneman, Treisman, & Gibbs, 1992) and event files (Hommel, 1998).
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