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Matthias Fritsche, Floris P. de Lange; The role of feature-based attention in visual serial dependence. Journal of Vision 2019;19(13):21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.13.21.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Perceptual decisions about current sensory input are biased toward input of the recent past—a phenomenon termed serial dependence. Serial dependence may serve to stabilize neural representations in the face of external and internal noise. However, it is unclear under which circumstances previous input attracts subsequent perceptual decisions, and thus whether serial dependence reflects a broad smoothing or selective stabilization operation. Here we investigated whether focusing attention on particular features of the previous stimulus modulates serial dependence. We found an attractive bias in orientation estimations when previous and current stimuli had similar orientations, and a repulsive bias when they had dissimilar orientations. The attractive bias was markedly reduced—to less than half of its original magnitude—when observers attended to the size, rather than the orientation, of the previous stimulus. Conversely, the repulsive bias for stimuli with large orientation differences was not modulated by feature-based attention. This suggests separate sources of these positive and negative perceptual biases.
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