December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Spatiotemporal information can be biased in attentional templates
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sage E.P. Boettcher
    University of Oxford
  • Patrick Kirwan
    University of Oxford
  • Anna C. Nobre
    University of Oxford
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This was funded by Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (104571/Z/14/Z) to ACN, by the EPS Postdoctoral Research fellowship to SEPB. The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging is supported by core funding from the Wellcome Trust (203139/Z/16/Z).
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3378. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Sage E.P. Boettcher, Patrick Kirwan, Anna C. Nobre; Spatiotemporal information can be biased in attentional templates. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3378.

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

  • Supplements

Attentional templates based on internal representations of known target characteristics play an important role in guiding visual search. Although templates represent objects in the external world, they need not be strictly veridical. For example, it has been shown that when searching for a target color (orange) among distractors pulled from one side of the color space (e.g., yellower distractors) the target representation becomes distorted away from the anticipated distractors (e.g., redder target representation). Thus far, this effect has been shown for defining features of the target such as color, tilt, and size. We have recently shown that both spatial and timing properties can also guide visual search in dynamic environments. One interesting question is whether spatial and timing ‘features’ can also be biased in service of adaptive ongoing behaviour. To address this, we introduced a novel visual-search task in which observers search for a moving target defined by its motion path. That is, a target can only be identified by integrating its spatial location across time. Distractors moved in various directions. Importantly, for one group of participants the distractors always moved in a direction clockwise relative to the target, whereas for a different group of participants the opposite was true. Participants were asked to report the direction of their target at several points during the experiment. We found that participants who encountered distractors clockwise (counter-clockwise) relative to the target tended to report a target path that was more counter-clockwise (clockwise). Our findings provide compelling evidence that spatiotemporal information can also become distorted in internal representations constituting attentional templates.


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