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Amy Chow, Davood Gozli, Jay Pratt; Examining the Locus of the Attentional Attraction Effect. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):636. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.636.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The orienting of attention is known to distort regions of visual space. For example, a shift of attention towards peripheral cues causes the mislocalization of central vernier line targets away from the focus of attention (the attentional repulsion effect). However, by reversing the order of presentation of the vernier lines and cues, a substantial attraction effect is found (i.e., the vernier lines are now mislocalized toward the attended peripheral locations). The purpose of this study was to identify the locus of this attentional attraction effect. Participants were asked to judge the location of the top vernier line relative to the bottom line, with any attraction effect being computed as the tendency to perceive the top line as closer to the location of the cue. Unlike the repulsion effect, the attraction effect was found in an interocular display condition in which the vernier lines were presented to one eye and the peripheral cues were presented to the other eye, using LCD goggles. This result suggests that the attentional attraction effect is a higher order process as compared to the repulsion effect, and likely requires visual short term memory. To test this, we inserted either a spatial memory load task (remembering the locations of one or three squares) or color memory load task (remembering the colors of one or three squares) before the attentional attraction effect task (i.e., vernier line targets followed by peripheral cues). The results showed that occupying spatial memory reduced the magnitude of the attraction effect while the color memory load had no effect. Overall, these results indicate that the attentional attraction effect is quite different from the attentional repulsion effect, as it involves higher order visual processes that require spatial working memory.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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