Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Attending to This and Then That

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Attending to This and Then That

Article excerpt

ATTENTIONAL CONTROL

Lien et al. (2010). Attentional capture with rapidly changing attentional control settings. JEP:HPP, 36, 1.

Although there is evidence for stimulus-based attentional capture, much work has shown that observers typically use an attentional set to direct attention to some things and not to others. These control settings are generally established at the beginning of an experiment through the instructions and are maintained for the duration of the study. In contrast to this typical procedure, Lien et al. asked whether attention is affected by changing control parameters frequently (i.e., from trial to trial).

Their observers performed a spatial cuing task in which attention could be drawn to a location by an abruptly appearing cue. Following the cue, a target array appeared, and this array contained different-colored letters. Before a trial began, a prompt informed the observer of the color of the letter that was to be reported. To investigate attentional control settings, the task-relevant color (indicated by the prompt) could either match or mismatch the color of the spatial cue. If attention was directed by control settings established by the prompt, attention should then be directed to spatial cues that match the prompt but not to spatial cues in other colors. For example, if a prompt indicated that the target letter was red, an control setting for red should allow attention to be captured by a red but not by a green spatial cue. …

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