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Yangqing Xu, Steven Franconeri; Change of object structure as a result of shifts of spatial attention. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):264. doi: 10.1167/10.7.264.
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The perception of ambiguous figures (e.g. duck-rabbit) can be influenced by cueing spatial attention to a part of the image associated more closely with one interpretation (e.g., the mouth of the duck or the rabbit) (Tsal & Kolbert, 1985). The distribution of spatial attention can also affect the perception of ambiguous figures that change only in structure but not in meaning (Slotnick & Yantis, 2005). We asked participants to report their perception of this type of figure (similar to a Necker-cube) after briefly cueing one side. Participants were more likely to perceive the cued side of the figure as the closer side. In a second study, participants viewed the same ambiguous figure for a series of 8-second trials, and reported each perceptual switch with key-press responses. Using an ERP correlate of the distribution of spatial attention (n2pc), we found that more attention was directed toward the perceived closer side 500 ms before the report of perception, and toward the alternative side 500 ms after the report of perception. The distribution of spatial attention appears to affect the perceived structure of a constant visual stimulus.
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