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Covert orienting to the locations of targets and distractors: Effects on response channel activation in a flanker task

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The role of covert orienting of attention in response channel activation was examined using the flanker interference and precueing paradigms. Four experiments assessed the influence of distractors on the discrimination of a target colour patch under cueing conditions (three with non-informative, exogenous cues and one with informative, endogenous cues) that modulated attention at the flanker or target locations. Across all of the experiments, the amount of interference generated by the distractors was not modulated by the facilitation and inhibition of return induced by spatial attention precues. These results are consistent with previous reports of patients with neglect, which demonstrated that flanker interference proceeds at unattended locations (Audet, Bub, & Lecours, 1991; Cohen, Ivry, Rafal, & Kohn, 1995), and they suggest that response channel activation can occur independently from spatial attention.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA 2: University of Wales, Bangor, Wales, UK 3: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2002


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