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Tashina Graves, Howard Egeth; Resisting Attentional Capture by an Additional Singleton Depends on Prior Experience With Its Salient Feature. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):81. doi: 10.1167/13.9.81.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
During the search for a shape singleton, a salient color singleton can capture attention. The state of being set to search for any singleton is referred to as singleton detection mode. Capture will not occur if participants are searching for a specific shape among a variety of shapes, so-called feature search mode. Trials where participants search for a specific shape singleton are considered option trials because either singleton detection or feature search could be used to find the target. Despite the viability of both strategies, singleton detection mode appears to be the default because the color singleton captures attention. However, if participants trained with feature search trials are given option trials at test, capture will not occur on the option trials. It appears that feature search mode transfers from the training trials to test trials where participants would otherwise use a singleton detection strategy. Previous studies have shown that if you change the color of the salient color singleton from training to test, there is no transfer--the new color singleton will capture attention. In this study, we kept the color singleton consistent and varied other factors. In one experiment we used different sets of shapes for training and test, and in another we changed the shape set as well as the color of all items except for the color singleton. In both cases, the salient color singleton captured attention at test if participants had had singleton detection training, but not if they had had feature search training. Thus, it appears that the ability to resist capture on option trials depends on previous experience ignoring the specific feature of the distracting item, and not on experience attending to the features of the target.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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