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Florian Goller, Ulrich Ansorge; Looking for color while searching for onsets: The efficiency of top-down search sets is influenced by task context. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1006. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.1006.
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According to the contingent-capture theory (Folk, Remington, & Johnston, 1992), irrelevant onset cues capture attention only if the searched-for target is also defined by its onset. If the target is defined by color, onset cues should not capture attention because such cues do not match the top-down control settings to search for the target's feature (i.e. color). Yet, the corresponding evidence stems from onset cues of a target-similar color. Such onset cues potentially match to two control settings: one for onsets and one for color. As a consequence, a match of the cue color to the control settings could have contributed to attention capture by onset cues, or might even explain it. In a series of experiments, we tested this possibility and found stronger attention capture by onset cues with a target-similar color than by onset cues with a target-dissimilar color when search was for onset targets. In addition, we found attention capture by target-similar color cues, but not by target-dissimilar color cues during search for onset targets. Based on these and related findings, we conclude that color-based contributions to top-down contingent attention capture by onset cues is due to the participants' context-dependent use of the most efficient control settings.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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