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Mapping the timecourse of goal-directed attention to location and colour in human vision

Adams, Rachel Charlotte. and Chambers, Christopher D. 2012. Mapping the timecourse of goal-directed attention to location and colour in human vision. Acta Psychologica 139 (3) , pp. 515-523. 10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.01.014

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Goal-directed attention prioritises perception of task-relevant stimuli according to location, features, or onset time. In this study we compared the behavioural timecourse of goal-directed selection to locations and colours by varying the stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) between cue and target in a strategic cueing paradigm. Participants reported the presence or absence of a target following prior information regarding its location or colour. Results revealed that preparatory selection by colour is more effective at enhancing perceptual sensitivity than selection by location, even though both types of cue provided equivalent overall information. More detailed analysis revealed that this advantage arose due a limitation of spatial attention in maintaining a sufficiently broad focus (> 2°) for target detection across multiple stimuli. In contrast, when target stimuli fell within 2° of the spatial attention spotlight, the strategic advantages and speed of spatial and colour attention were equated. Our findings are consistent with the conclusion that, under spatially optimal conditions, prior spatial and colour information are equally proficient at guiding top-down selection. When spatial locations are ambiguous, however, colour-based selection is the more efficient mechanism.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Selective attention; Colour; Location; Timecourse
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0001-6918
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2021 02:40

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