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Aoqi Li, Jeremy M. Wolfe, Zhenzhong Chen; Implicitly and explicitly encoded features can guide attention in free viewing. Journal of Vision 2020;20(6):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.6.8.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
It is well known that priming, probably by the contents of working memory, can influence subsequent visual task performance. How ubiquitous is this effect? Can incidental exposure to visual stimuli influence the deployment of attention when there is no explicit visual task? Results of two experiments show that a preceding stimulus can influence free-viewing eye movements. A simple change detection task was used as the cover task. The initial memory display was the priming display, while subsequent filler display constituted the free-viewing display of our interest. In Experiment 1, subjects were asked to memorize the number of items in the priming display. Subjects were not explicitly instructed to attend to features, but these might still be implicitly encoded. In Experiment 2, a more complex change detection task required subjects to memorize the number, color, and shape of priming items. Here, prime features were attended and, presumably, explicitly encoded. We were interested to know whether incidentally or explicitly encoded features of prime items would influence attention distribution in the filler display. In both experiments, items sharing color and shape with the prime were attended more often than predicted by chance. Items sharing neither color nor shape were attended less often. Items sharing either color or shape (not both) could also attract attention showing that the priming need not be based on a bound representation of the primed item. Effects were stronger in Experiment 2. No intention or top-down control appears to be needed to produce this priming.
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