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Florian Goller, Ulrich Ansorge; Inter-Trial Contingencies in Contingent-Capture Experiments. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):314. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.12.314.
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Several studies showed that attention can be captured in a top-down contingent way. Here, attention capture by cues depended on a match of cues’ features to the features of the searched-for targets. However, the influence of the cue-target position relations in a preceding trial n-1 has not been considered in most studies, although these relations can have an influence: Cueing effects in a trial n can be larger if the preceding trial n-1 was valid rather than invalid (Gratton Effect). Such inter-trial contingencies could contribute to contingent-capture effects, but this was never tested. The aim of our study was to fill this gap. We used the classic contingent-capture protocol and analysed cueing effects in trial n as a function of cue validity (valid versus invalid) and cue type (matching versus non-matching) in trial n-1. In Experiment 1, participants searched for a white onset target. A valid cue in trial n-1 boosted the cuing effect in a subsequent trial n, which indicates a Gratton effect. Surprisingly, these inter-trial contingencies did not hold for matching onset cues but only for non-matching red color cues. Similar effects of the non-matching cues were also found if cues and targets both changed their positions from trial to trial, rendering position priming as an unlikely explanation (Experiment 2). However, no inter-trial contingencies were found during search for red color targets (Experiment 3). In an additional experiment, we explored whether task difficulty may be an important moderator for inter-trial contingencies in the contingent-capture paradigm. Our results provide a new perspective on contingent capture and add to the growing literature on the importance of inter-trial contingencies.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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