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Top‐down attentional modulation of spatial frequency processing in scene perception

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Recent evidence suggests that spatial frequency (SF) processing of simple and complex visual patterns is flexible. The use of spatial scale in scene perception seems to be influenced by people's expectations. However as yet there is no direct evidence for top‐down attentional effects on flexible scale use in scene perception. In two experiments we provide such evidence. We presented participants with low‐ and high‐pass SF filtered scenes and cued their attention to the relevant scale. In Experiment 1 we subsequently presented them with hybrid scenes (both low‐ and high‐pass scenes present). We observed that participants reported detecting the cued component of hybrids. To explore if this might be due to decision biases, in Experiment 2, we replaced hybrids with images containing meaningful scenes at uncued SFs and noise at the cued SFs (invalid cueing). We found that participants performed poorly on invalid cueing trials. These findings are consistent with top‐down attentional modulation of early spatial frequency processing in scene perception.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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