September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Recapturing captured attention
Author Affiliations
  • Fook Chua
    Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 317. doi:
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      Fook Chua; Recapturing captured attention. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):317.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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This work examined the limits of re-capturing attention that had just been captured. Specifically, the question was whether attentional capture by some types of stimuli leads to a more robust engagement, thereby hampering attempts at re-capturing attention. The experiments used the contingent capture paradigm. Each trial consisted of three frames: a (1) fixation frame containing nine objects, of which six were "filled", each enclosing a placeholder and surrounded by four grey spots. The (2) capture frame appeared thereafter, with the spots surrounding all the filled objects changing to the same color (e.g., yellow), except for a single set which changed to a different color (e.g., blue), making the latter a color singleton. The (3) search frame then appeared: the spots disappeared and the placeholders turned into letters. All the objects changed to one color (e.g., green), except for one object which changed to a unique color (e.g. red). The task was to locate this color singleton and identify the letter that it enclosed. If attention had been captured by the singleton spots, the search latencies would be shorter if the target appeared in the same location as the spots (a valid trial) than if it appeared elsewhere (an invalid trial). To examine whether attention could be re-captured, the single-capture condition, described above, was contrasted with the double-capture condition, in which a second capture stimulus was presented 150 ms after the first, e.g., one set of the yellow non-singleton spots turned blue. Attention re-capture was diagnosed by comparing latencies when the target appeared in the second capture location, or in a different location. The results showed that attention re-capture occurred if the second capture stimulus possessed the target's diagnostic feature. But, if attention had initially oriented to an object possessing this diagnostic feature, re-capturing attention to a different location was unlikely.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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