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Arni Kristjansson, Sigurbjorg Egilsdottir, Gabriela Gilmour, Omar Johannesson, Inga M Olafsdottir, Jan Brascamp; Interdependencies between attentional priming and perceptual interpretation of ambiguous stimuli. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):435. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.435.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Attentional selection and the perception of ambiguous visual input are both strongly influenced by past events. History dependencies in attention and in perception are, however normally considered unrelated and studied in separate fields. Here we investigate their relation. During 'ambiguous trials' observers viewed a briefly-presented ambiguous Necker cube, which has two possible perceptual interpretations. On 'search trials' observers searched among unambiguous cubes that each represented either of these interpretations, the target being an oddball that represented a different interpretation than the rest. When presenting consecutive ambiguous trials, perception on a given trial often conformed to earlier perception, an established example of percept priming. Similarly established, responses on consecutive search trials became faster when target identity repeated than when it changed, demonstrating attentional priming. Surprisingly, intermixing ambiguous trials and search trials revealed a mutual interaction: search responses were faster to targets representing the interpretation perceived on previous ambiguous trials, and perception during ambiguous trials tended to conform to the target on preceding search trials. For individual observers, the magnitude of the effect of ambiguous trials on subsequent search trials significantly predicted effect magnitude of search upon judgment of ambiguous stimuli. Moreover, the influence of perception upon subsequent search largely depended on perceptual ambiguity, since simple viewing of unambiguous cubes only minimally affected subsequent search speeds. Our results suggest a partial identity between attention priming and perception priming, thus bridging two hitherto unrelated fields of vision science. Beyond history dependencies, our results suggest that becoming aware of one visual interpretation while alternative interpretations are not perceived may be fundamentally similar to paying attention to some parts of visual input while ignoring others, reflecting the operation of overlapping visual and attentional mechanisms.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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