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Gerald McDonnell, Michael Dodd; Examining the Relative Strength of Attentional Cues and the Time Course of Exogenous Orienting. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):437. doi: 10.1167/15.12.437.
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The current study examined the relationship between endogenous, exogenous, and symbolic attention as it relates to working memory and attentional allocation. Previous research has established that exogenous cues result in early facilitation and later inhibition at cued locations (Posner & Cohen, 1984). In contrast, endogenous cues result in long-lasting facilitation, but not IOR, when responding to the location of a target. This pattern of results remain consistent even when participants are required to hold nonpredictive arrow cues in working memory (McDonnell & Dodd, 2013). The present experiments examined the characteristics of these attentional effects when the irrelevant spatial cue is relevant to a secondary memory task, requiring it to be processed. In Experiment 1, participants completed a standard Posner cueing task while holding in memory a colored placeholder that either matched or did not match the subsequent color of the exogenous cue. This is a departure from previous research where normally participants are instructed to ignore the exogenous cue or that it is irrelevant. Surprisingly, no facilitation was observed at early SOAs (200ms), but was followed by standard IOR at intermediate SOAs (500ms) and late SOAs (800ms; these effects replicated when decreasing the difficulty of the memory test). In Experiment 2, when participants maintained in memory an irrelevant arrow cue while responding to a target preceded by an exogenous cue, standard exogenous IOR effects were observed at intermediate and late SOAs, but once again no facilitation at early SOAs (presumably due to the attentional demands of the working memory load), independent of the nonpredictive arrow cue (25% or 50% predictive). However, when the arrow cue was made 75% predictive, exogenous inhibition was not observed at intermediate SOAs when the arrow cue was valid. The present experiments provide important insight into the interaction between working memory and attentional orienting.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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