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Hsin-I Liao, Su-Ling Yeh; Attentional capture with and without awareness. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1342. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1342.
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We have shown that attentional capture by static color feature is contingent on top-down controls; whereas attentional capture by transient visual onset can be purely stimulus-driven (Liao & Yeh, 2011, Acta Psychologica, 138, 52-59). Assuming that top-down modulation is more effective for visible than invisible stimulus, we hypothesize that attentional capture is susceptible to stimulus visibility for color, but not onset. In a spatial cueing paradigm, a color target was preceded by an onset or color cue. The cue visibility was manipulated by the presentation duration—50 ms (visible) and 17 ms (invisible)—followed by a location mask, and verified by individual participant after the experiment. Attentional capture was inferred by faster responses when the target appeared at the same location as the precue than at different locations. Results showed that both invisible color and onset cues captured attention, indicating attentional capture without awareness. Most importantly, attentional capture by color was larger when the color cue was visible than invisible; however, attentional capture by onset was independent of the onset cue’s visibility. The overall results suggest that attentional orienting toward a feature that is contingent on the task goal is modulated by feature-based top-down controls. By contrast, bottom-up attention is sensitive to transient visual onset and independent of top-down controls.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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