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Effects of varying target luminance and cue luminance on attentional effects of spatial cues

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Attentional effects of letter cues on target processing were investigated in a bilateral spatial cueing paradigm. Luminance contrast of the cue stimuli and of the target stimuli were both manipulated. Consistent with predictions derived from theoretical models of visual attention, manipulating cue luminance and target luminance had very different effects on performance. In agreement with the dorsal stream attention hypothesis (Marrett et al., 2011) orienting effects were unaffected by changes in cue luminance; but in agreement with the work of Reynolds, Pasternak, and Desimone (2000) and Carrasco, Ling, and Read (2004) orienting effects were strongly modulated by changes in the luminance and perceptual quality of the target. Theoretical implications of the results are considered and the data are explained in terms of a sensory enhancement effect, whereby attention amplifies the neuronal responses for attended stimuli.

Keywords: Luminance contrast; Spatial cueing; Visual attention

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Research Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology,University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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