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Josef Schonhammer, Dirk Kerzel; Effects of involuntary covert orienting and attentional control settings depend on the experimental task. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):92. doi: 10.1167/11.11.92.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Four experiments investigated whether contingent attentional capture in the cue-target paradigm by Folk, Remington, and Johnston (1992) depends on the experimental task. In the cited study, participants' task was to discriminate which target (X or =) occurred inside one of four placeholders. The target was either the only appearing element (onset target) or the stimulus with a unique color among similar distractors (color target). A target was preceded by an onset or color cue appearing either at the same (valid cue) or a different (invalid cue) location as the subsequent target. It was found that cuing effects (faster responses for valid than for invalid cues) only occurred when both cue and target shared visual properties (i.e., both were onsets or both had a unique color). It was concluded that involuntary capture of attention is contingent on the target property participants are set to search for. Experiment 1 of the present study replicated Folk et al.'s (1992) experiment. Experiment 2 was equivalent except for the experimental task. Participants indicated where the target had appeared by a four-choice manual reaction. The localization task replicated contingent attentional capture, with larger effects than in the original task which suggests that motor priming also depends on attentional control settings. In Experiment 3, a detection task was used. Participants had to respond when they detected a target and to withhold the response otherwise. Notably, a high false alarm rate occurred when a color target was preceded by a color cue, suggesting that observers confuse cue and target displays. Experiment 4 measured perceptual accuracy using masked targets that were difficult to identify. Experiments 3 and 4 showed different interaction patterns than Experiments 1 and 2 in particular for onset targets, showing that contingent attentional capture depends on the type of experimental task.
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