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Lingling Wang, Steven Most; Temporally dynamic changes in the emotion-induced spread of target suppression. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):3. doi: 10.1167/12.9.3.
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Emotional stimuli often impair perception of subsequent targets, an effect termed emotion-induced blindness. Recent research has revealed that emotion-induced blindness is specific to the location of the emotional stimulus, suggestive of spatiotemporal competition between targets and emotional distractors, where spontaneous prioritization of emotional stimuli leads to suppression of competing perceptual representations linked to an overlapping point in time and space (Most & Wang, 2011). In the present study, we investigated whether the spatially localized nature of the effect is immediate or reflects a spatially dynamic window of suppression that unfolds over time. Two streams of upright scene pictures were presented simultaneously at a rate of 100 msec/item. Participants searched for a target that could appear in either of the two streams. One image (lag-1) or two images (lag-2) prior to the target, an emotional or neutral distractor picture appeared, either in the same stream as the target or in the opposite stream. At lag-1, emotional distractors impaired target perception across both streams to the same extent, whereas at lag-2 emotional distractors produced impairments primarily in the same stream as targets. These results suggest that emotional distractors exhibit spatially localized impairments for subsequent targets, but that this spatial localization emerges over time: the target perception deficits induced by emotional distractors appear initially to reflect target suppression across the visual field but quickly narrow to the location of the emotional distractor.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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