August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
Tracking exogenous attentional capture in an urgent covert perceptual choice task
Author Affiliations
  • Emily E Oor
    Wake Forest University
  • Anthony W Sali
    Wake Forest University
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 5645. doi:
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      Emily E Oor, Anthony W Sali; Tracking exogenous attentional capture in an urgent covert perceptual choice task. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):5645.

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

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Exogenous physical salience signals, such as an abrupt onset (Yantis & Jonides, 1984), can quickly and involuntarily capture attention. However, the trial binning procedures employed by most attentional capture studies lead to a loss of temporal information regarding the rise and duration of attentional priority. Recently, the introduction of an urgent saccadic choice paradigm allowed researchers to characterize the temporal dynamics of an exogenously-driven enhancement of preparatory oculomotor activity toward the location of a salient stimulus (Salinas et al., 2019). We enforced fixation and used a manual response version of the urgent choice task to extend these findings to covert perceptual choice behavior. While fixating a central cross, participants selected one of two colored circles to accumulate as many points as possible. Both circles first appeared yellow (intermediate value). Participants were told to “go”, and following a variable delay, a color onset (“cue”) of red or blue occurred at one location indicating that selection of this item would yield a high or negative point value, thus mimicking urgent versions of pro- and antisaccade tasks, respectively. The maximum time to respond after the “go” was held constant, forcing participants to initiate target selection prior to “cue” onset to respond in time. Consistent with the saccadic choice literature, tachometric curves showed a delayed increase in choice accuracy as a function of cue-viewing time for negative value trials relative to high value trials, revealing the time course of instantiation and recovery from attentional capture. Our results indicate that despite the goal to maximize points and ignore the negative value cue, an exogenously driven interruption by the salient item (i.e., the onset of the target or distractor) can help or hinder performance. This simple task design provides a tool for bridging the gap between findings in the oculomotor- and attentional capture bodies of literature.


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