12-11-2019 | Original Article
On the putative role of intervening events in exogenous attention
Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 2/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
In exogenous attention, two main behavioural effects are usually observed across time: facilitation at short cue-target onset asynchronies (CTOAs), and Inhibition of Return (IOR) at longer CTOAs. The presentation of an intervening event (IE)—i.e., a cue presented at fixation between the peripheral cue and target period—favours the appearance of IOR. However, although there is a general consensus on this empirical modulation, there is no agreement about the putative role of IEs and/or the mechanism/s underlying their effect. While some authors consider IEs as a “cue-back”, automatically reorienting attention to fixation, thus allowing IOR to occur, others have considered IEs as events modulating cue-target integration processes, consequently affecting exogenous cueing. Even in this later case, it is not clear whether IEs modulate cueing by inducing an attentional set (top-down) modulation or by inducing a trial-by-trial (bottom-up) online modulation. To disentangle this issue, in two experiments, we manipulated the proportion of trials in which the IE was presented, thus being able to measure the effect of the presence/absence and proportion of IEs. We observed a gradual influence of the % of IEs over cueing effects, which becomes less positive or more negative as the % of IEs increases. This pattern of findings fits well with the idea that facilitation and IOR depend on cue-target integration processes, and presents critical implications for the open debate about the mechanism/s underlying exogenous spatial cueing effects.