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15-05-2018 | Original Article

The impact of temporal contingencies between cue and target onset on spatial attentional capture by subliminal onset cues

Auteurs: Tobias Schoeberl, Ulrich Ansorge

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 7/2019

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Abstract

Prior research suggested that attentional capture by subliminal abrupt onset cues is stimulus driven. In these studies, reacting was faster when a searched-for target appeared at the location of a preceding abrupt onset cue compared to when the same target appeared at a location away from the cue (cueing effect), although the earlier onset of the cue was subliminal, because it appeared as one out of three horizontally aligned placeholders with a lead time that was too short to be noticed by the participants. Because the cueing effects seemed to be independent of top–down search settings for target features, the effect was attributed to stimulus-driven attentional capture. However, prior studies did not investigate if participants experienced the cues as useful temporal warning signals and, therefore, attended to the cues in a top–down way. Here, we tested to which extent search settings based on temporal contingencies between cue and target onset could be responsible for spatial cueing effects. Cueing effects were replicated, and we showed that removing temporal contingencies between cue and target onset did not diminish the cueing effects (Experiments 1 and 2). Neither presenting the cues in the majority of trials after target onset (Experiment 1) nor presenting cue and target unrelated to one another (Experiment 2) led to a significant reduction of the spatial cueing effects. Results thus support the hypothesis that the subliminal cues captured attention in a stimulus-driven way.
Voetnoten
1
Non-specific temporal orienting comes in different forms. On the one hand, cues can lead to volitional temporal preparation so that participants use the cues to strategically expect the target within a specific time window (e.g., Correa, Lupiáñez, Milliken, & Tudela, 2004). Another way non-specific temporal cues can impact on performance is by alerting, which leads to a transient state of preparedness/arousal shortly following the time of the cue onset (Los & Shut, 2008; Weinbach & Henik, 2012). Effects of alerting are considered to be more automatic than volitional temporal orienting, and they strongly depend on temporal contingencies between cue and target onset (Laidlaw & Kingstone, 2017; Weinbach & Henik, 2012).
 
2
In contrast to the target, the cue and placeholders are of lower contrast (e.g., Mulckhuyse et al., 2007; Schoeberl et al., 2015) and cover a smaller overall area. As higher overall stimulus energy decreases the latency with which stimuli are perceived (Purushothaman, Patel, Bedell, & Ogmen, 1998), it is thus possible that the participants subjectively perceived the cue and the placeholders to precede the target even in conditions in which placeholders and target had objectively simultaneous onsets. Note how the low visibility of the cue’s head start relative to the placeholders would have benefited the grouping of cue and placeholders and, hence, an energy-based latency advantage, as well as incorporation of the cue into a top-down set to search for all three stimuli, cue and placeholders, as warning signals.
 
Literatuur
go back to reference Townsend, J. T., & Ashby, F. G. (1978). Methods of modeling capacity in simple processing systems. In J. Castellan & F. Restle (Eds.), Cognitive theory (Vol. 3, pp. 200–239). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Townsend, J. T., & Ashby, F. G. (1978). Methods of modeling capacity in simple processing systems. In J. Castellan & F. Restle (Eds.), Cognitive theory (Vol. 3, pp. 200–239). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
go back to reference Townsend, J. T., & Ashby, F. G. (1983). Stochastic modeling of elementary psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Townsend, J. T., & Ashby, F. G. (1983). Stochastic modeling of elementary psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Metagegevens
Titel
The impact of temporal contingencies between cue and target onset on spatial attentional capture by subliminal onset cues
Auteurs
Tobias Schoeberl
Ulrich Ansorge
Publicatiedatum
15-05-2018
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 7/2019
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-018-1001-z

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