September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Task-irrelevant optic flow guides overt attention during visual search
Author Affiliations
  • Yoko Higuchi
    Graduate school of Informatics, Kyoto University
  • Terumasa Endo
    TOYOTA Motor Corporation
  • Satoshi Inoue
    TOYOTA Motor Corporation
  • Takatsune Kumada
    Graduate school of Informatics, Kyoto University
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 83. doi:
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      Yoko Higuchi, Terumasa Endo, Satoshi Inoue, Takatsune Kumada; Task-irrelevant optic flow guides overt attention during visual search. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):83. doi:

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

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It is known that basic visual features such as color or contrast capture attention. Recent research suggests that optic flow also attracts attention even when it is irrelevant to participants' task. However, the impact of an individual's attentional set on attentional capture to optic flow is poorly understood. In two experiments, we examined whether task-irrelevant optic flow induces attentional capture under different conditions of a participant's attentional set. The first experiment aimed to confirm the course of attentional guidance via optic flow in a visual search task. Participants had to find a target, Gabor patch, with an orientation different from distractors. Prior to onset of the search display, a task-irrelevant optic flow display was presented for 1, 3, or 5 sec. Results indicated that all three optic-flow exposure conditions yielded faster search times when the target was presented at the expanding point of optic flow (EPOF) than when the target happened at another location. Moreover, eye movement analysis revealed that the first saccade headed for EPOF. In the second experiment, a task irrelevant color circle, was presented in the search display. This procedure ensured that participants' attention was directed to the color circle which was concurrently presented with a target if participants are sensitive to feature singletons. However, results revealed that the optic flow continued to strongly guide attention. In other words, a color singleton does not override attentional capture created by optic flow. These results suggest that optic flow quickly guides an attention-forward expanding point regardless of participants' attentional set.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017


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