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Josef G. Schönhammer, Dirk Kerzel; Some effects of non-predictive cues on accuracy are mediated by feature-based attention. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):76. doi: 10.1167/13.9.76.
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The current research asks whether involuntary attention is a control mechanism of attentional resource allocation or a set of decision bias mechanisms. Frequently, involuntary attention is investigated with spatially non-predictive cues. There is evidence that non-predictive cues have no effect on accuracy when location uncertainty is eliminated, suggesting that involuntary attention is not connected to resource allocation. Our experiments asked whether a top-down set for specific target features results in resource allocation to non-predictive cues. Thus, even though the cueing effects could be classified as involuntary, effects might be mediated by top-down feature-based attention. Over a block of trials, cues or targets were defined by a unique onset or a unique color, and the dependent measure was accuracy. In Experiment 1, effects of cue validity were obtained when both cue and target were onsets or color-defined, but not when they were different. Experiment 2 ruled out alternative explanations (Prinzmetal, McCool, & Park, 2005) by presenting the cue after the target, which eliminated cueing effects. Experiment 3 examined the possible impact of priming of pop-out features. On each trial, cue and target were equally likely to be onset or color-defined, but observers made responses only to either onset or color targets. When cue and target were onsets, the cueing effect did not change as a function of the target type on the previous trial, suggesting that priming of pop-out had no influence. When cue and target were color-defined, neither cueing effects nor any impact of the target type on the previous trial was obtained, suggesting that with the current manipulation observers did not adopt a top-down set for a specific color.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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