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Matthew Hilchey; Beyond the new-event paradigm in visual attention research: Can completely static stimuli capture attention?. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):4. doi: 10.1167/17.10.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The last several decades of attention research have focused almost exclusively on paradigms that introduce new perceptual objects or salient sensory changes to the visual environment in order to determine how attention is captured to those locations. There are a handful of exceptions, and in the spirit of those studies, we asked whether or not a completely unchanging stimuli can attract attention using variations of classic additional singleton and cueing paradigms. In the additional singleton tasks, we presented a preview array of six uniform circles. After a short delay, one circle changed in form and luminance – the target location – and all but one location changed luminance, leaving the sixth location physically unchanged. The results indicated that attention was attracted toward the vicinity of the only unchanging stimulus, regardless of whether all circles around it increased or decreased luminance. In the cueing tasks, cueing was achieved by changing the luminance of 5 circles in the object preview array either 150 or 1000 ms before the onset of a target. Under certain conditions, we observed canonical patterns of facilitation and inhibition emerging from the location containing the physically unchanging cue stimuli. Taken together, the findings suggest that a completely unchanging stimulus, which bears no obvious resemblance to the target, can attract attention in certain situations.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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