September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Integrating top-down and bottom-up attention control factors: an EEG study
Author Affiliations
  • Einat Rashal
    Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • Mehdi Senoussi
    Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • Elisa Santandrea
    University of Verona, Verona, Italy
  • Suliann Ben-Hamed
    Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc-Jeannerod, Lyon, France
  • Emiliano Macaluso
    Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Lyon, France
  • Leonardo Chelazzi
    University of Verona, Verona, Italy
  • Nico Boehler
    Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2565. doi:
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      Einat Rashal, Mehdi Senoussi, Elisa Santandrea, Suliann Ben-Hamed, Emiliano Macaluso, Leonardo Chelazzi, Nico Boehler; Integrating top-down and bottom-up attention control factors: an EEG study. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2565.

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

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Attention can be controlled by bottom-up, stimulus driven, and top-down, goal-driven sources. The current study aims to examine how the different sources are integrated, using known EEG components related to attention - N2pc and Pd. These components are thought to reflect target selection and distractor suppression, respectively. We used endogenous cues for top-down attention control and salience for bottom-up attention control in a visual search task. In Experiment 1 participants reported the orientation of a tilted target preceded by a valid or neutral cue. In Experiment 2 the task was to report the location (up or down) of a small gap within the target. On some of the trials the target appeared in a different color, rendering it salient. On the other trials, the target appeared with or without a salient distractor. Our results showed cueing effects on RT and accuracy in both experiments, demonstrating a general facilitation of responses to validly cued targets. Salient targets were not detected faster than non-salient targets, and a salient distractor worsened performance. N2pc and Pd were found only in trials where the target was preceded by a neutral cue In Experiment 1. No such cueing effects were found in Experiment 2. The lack of N2pc in the validly cued trials in Experiment 1 suggests that no further engagement of attention was required by the search or the task. The evidenced Pd following a valid cue suggests the involvement of attention in the suppression of a salient distractor. The result of Experiment 2 suggests that task demands masked the effects that would otherwise be evident.


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