September 2011
Volume 11, Issue 11
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2011
The attentional repulsion effect distorts space but not objects
Author Affiliations
  • Alessandra DiGiacomo
    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Davood Ghara Gozli
    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Greg West
    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Jay Pratt
    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada
Journal of Vision September 2011, Vol.11, 231. doi:
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      Alessandra DiGiacomo, Davood Ghara Gozli, Greg West, Jay Pratt; The attentional repulsion effect distorts space but not objects. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):231.

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

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The Attentional Repulsion Effect (ARE) is a spatial consequence of allocating attention to peripheral locations. Specifically, a reflexive shift of attention to the periphery creates an error in the localization of visual stimuli in the direction opposite to the shift. Thus, the ARE appears to be a location-based effect involving the dorsal stream of visual processing. While the ARE is one of the few known spatial consequences of orienting attention, a great deal is known regarding the temporal consequences of shifting attention. In this reaction-time based literature, it is well-documented that there are both location- and object-based components associated in the allocation of attention (e.g., Egly rectangles paradigm, inhibition of return). Given that these two components are often found in temporal measures of attention, the goal of the present three experiments is to determine if the ARE can distort the perception of both spatial locations and the shape of objects. Experiment 1 used a central diamond shape with circles at the top and bottom vertices, and subjects were instructed to focus on the shape of the whole diamond or the locations of the two circles. In Experiment 2 a classic Vernier task served as the location condition, while connecting the Vernier to form a solid line constituted the object condition. Experiment 3 entailed viewing a central diamond shape once again, with the distinction from Experiment 1 being that subjects did not have to make an instantaneous decision; rather a response screen was used to assess subjects’ memorized perception of the target. All three experiments produced robust location-based AREs, but no object-based AREs. These findings suggest that the ARE, unlike many temporal consequences of shifting attention, does not have an object-based component.


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