Effects of informative peripheral cues on eye movements: Revisiting William James’ “derived attention”

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Two experiments examined effects of peripheral information on the latency of saccadic eye movements. In Experiment 1, simple target stimuli were presented to the left or right visual field. Prior to each target, a pair of cue letters was presented for 40msec bilaterally. The relative location of the letters (W-S or S-W) was related to target location, but participants were not informed of this contingency. After a brief practice period, saccadic latencies were faster for targets at the likely location, as indicated by the letter pair. This derived peripheral cueing effect was related to participants' awareness of the relation between cue type and target location. Experiments 2A and 2B employed monocular viewing in order to compare performance across the nasal and temporal visual fields. The effect observed in Experiment 1 was confined to the nasal visual field. In a reflexive orienting condition, the effect of a unilateral letter cue was larger in the temporal visual field. It is concluded that the neurocognitive processes responsible for derived peripheral cueing are distinct from those involved in either reflexive or voluntary orienting.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/135062800407194

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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