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22-01-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2020

Psychological Research 1/2020

Attentional control transfers beyond the reference frame

Psychological Research > Uitgave 1/2020
Blaire J. Weidler, Abhishek Dey, Julie M. Bugg


Much research has shown that humans can allocate attentional control differentially to multiple locations based on the amount of conflict historically associated with a given location. Additionally, once established, these control settings can transfer to nearby locations that themselves have no conflict bias. Here we examined if these control settings also extend to nearby locations that are presented outside of the original frame of reference of biased stimuli. During training, participants first responded to biased flanker stimuli that were likely high conflict in one location and low conflict in another location. Then they were exposed to two sets of unbiased stimuli presented in novel transfer locations outside of the established reference frame of biased stimuli. Across three experiments, attentional control settings transferred beyond the reference frame including when there was a visual border (Experiment 2) or meaningful categorical distinction (Experiment 3) delineating training and transfer locations. These novel findings further support the idea that stimulus-driven attention control can be flexibly allocated, perhaps in a categorical manner.

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