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Saeideh Ghahghaei, Preeti Verghese; Texture segmentation influences the spatial profile of presaccadic attention. Journal of Vision 2017;17(2):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.2.10.
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Attention is important for selecting targets for action. Several studies have shown that attentional selection precedes eye movements to a target, and results in an enhanced sensitivity at the saccade goal. Typically these studies have used isolated targets on blank backgrounds, which are rare in real-world situations. Here, we examine the spatial profile of sensitivity around a saccade target on a textured background and how the influence of the surrounding context develops over time. We used two textured backgrounds: a uniform texture, and a concentric arrangement of an inner and an outer texture with orthogonal orientations. For comparison, we also measured sensitivity around the target on a blank background. The spatial profile of sensitivity was measured with a brief, dim, probe flashed around the saccade target. When the target was on a blank or a uniformly textured background, spatial sensitivity peaked near the target location around 350 ms after cue onset and declined with distance from the target. However, when the background was made up of an inner and outer texture, sensitivity to the inner texture was uniformly high, peaking at about 350 ms after cue onset, suggesting that the entire inner texture was selected along with the target. The enhancement of sensitivity on the inner texture was much smaller when observers attended the target covertly and performed the probe-detection task. Thus, our results suggest that the surface representation around the target is taken into account when an observer actively plans to interact with the target.
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