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Exploring the modulation of attentional capture by attentional control settings using performance and illusory line motion

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Modulation of attentional capture by attentional control settings was explored using performance and phenomenology. Trials began with four figure-8s presented above, below, left, and right of fixation. Any figure-8 (or none) brightened uninformatively (cue) before presentation of either a digit target (2 or 5 made from a figure-8 by deletion) calling for a speeded identification, or a line connecting adjacent figure-8s calling for a motion judgement. Such lines are seen drawn away from an adjacent cue. Digit targets appeared only on the horizontal or vertical axes, encouraging voluntary attention to two (target-relevant) of the four figure-8s. Whereas voluntary attention reduced attentional capture from cues at taskirrelevant locations (when lines were unlikely to be presented near the task-irrelevant locations), it had no effect on motion judgements, suggesting that cue-elicited exogenous attention affects perceptual arrival times while voluntary attention prioritizes locations for further processing without affecting arrival times.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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