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Sanae Yoshimoto, Tatsuto Takeuchi; Effect of spatial attention on spatiotopic visual motion perception. Journal of Vision 2019;19(4):4. doi: 10.1167/19.4.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We almost never experience visual instability, despite retinal image instability induced by eye movements. How the stability of visual perception is maintained through spatiotopic representation remains a matter of debate. The discrepancies observed in the findings of existing neuroscience studies regarding spatiotopic representation partly originate from differences in regard to how attention is deployed to stimuli. In this study, we psychophysically examined whether spatial attention is needed to perceive spatiotopic visual motion. For this purpose, we used visual motion priming, which is a phenomenon in which a preceding priming stimulus modulates the perceived moving direction of an ambiguous test stimulus, such as a drifting grating that phase shifts by 180°. To examine the priming effect in different coordinates, participants performed a saccade soon after the offset of a primer. The participants were tasked with judging the direction of a subsequently presented test stimulus. To control the effect of spatial attention, the participants were asked to conduct a concurrent dot contrast-change detection task after the saccade. Positive priming was prominent in spatiotopic conditions, whereas negative priming was dominant in retinotopic conditions. At least a 600-ms interval between the priming and test stimuli was needed to observe positive priming in spatiotopic coordinates. When spatial attention was directed away from the location of the test stimulus, spatiotopic positive motion priming completely disappeared; meanwhile, the spatiotopic positive motion priming at shorter interstimulus intervals was enhanced when spatial attention was directed to the location of the test stimulus. These results provide evidence that an attentional resource is requisite for developing spatiotopic representation more quickly.
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