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Yunyun Chen, Yuying Wang, Sen Guo, Xuemin Zhang, Bihua Yan; The causal future: The influence of shape features caused by external transformation on visual attention. Journal of Vision 2021;21(11):17. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.11.17.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies have validated that participants can distinguish different origins of objects’ shape features, teasing apart features caused by transformation (causal history) from those of the original shape. Considering bite as a transformation example, two experiments were designed to investigate the effect of causal history on the allocation of visual attention. Participants were presented with regular and familiar complete or bitten shapes in Experiment 1 and unfamiliar and irregular complete or bitten shapes in Experiment 2 over a range of stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs). The task was to identify different probes (i.e., punctuation marks) that equally appeared at four positions around these shapes. The results showed that complete regular shapes had no impact on participants’ reaction times to identify probes that appeared at the four different positions (Experiment 1), whereas complete irregular shapes would facilitate participants’ responses to the probes that appeared at the positions around the “head” of the irregular shape (Experiment 2) regardless of SOAs. When presented with bitten shapes, in the earlier phase of visual processing, participants’ response patterns resembled those found when complete shapes were presented. However, with longer SOAs, participants were faster in identifying probes that appeared at those positions that were around the nontransformed region of the bitten shapes. The results revealed that information about shape features caused by causal history could be incorporated, albeit relatively later, into the allocation of visual attention. The role of causal history in the speculation about one object's future development is discussed.
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