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Denise Baumeler, Sabine Born; Vertical and horizontal meridian modulations suggest areas with quadrantic representations as neural locus of the attentional repulsion effect. Journal of Vision 2019;19(6):15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.6.15.
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The attentional repulsion effect (ARE) is a perceptual bias attributed to a covert shift of attention toward a peripheral cue, which, in turn, repulses the perceived position of a subsequently presented probe (Suzuki & Cavanagh, 1997). So far, probes were mainly presented around the vertical meridian. Other studies of perceptual biases reported disruptions when stimuli were presented across the vertical meridian. These disruptions were explained by separate representations of the left and right visual hemifields, projecting to opposite anatomical hemispheres. As the ARE is typically examined through two-alternative, forced-choice tasks in which the estimation of the probe's position is based on the cue's effectiveness to repulse the probe across the vertical meridian, no such asymmetry has been reported. To test for similar meridian disruptions in the ARE, we collected absolute estimations (computer mouse responses) of the perceived probe positions (Experiment 1a). As absolute estimations of memorized positions are associated with overestimated distances in reproduction, results had to be compared to a no-cue baseline condition (Experiment 1b). Through this new methodological approach, we found the ARE to be strongest when the attentional capturing cue and the subsequently presented probe were displayed in the same hemifield (Experiment 2a). In a further experiment (Experiment 2b), we observed that the ARE is not only disrupted at the vertical, but also at the horizontal meridian. These disruptions at both meridians suggest the involvement of visual neural areas with quadrantic representations, such as V2 and/or V3 in the generation of the ARE.
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