Unexpected abrupt onsets can override a top-down set for color

Folk, Charles L. and Remington, Roger W. (2015) Unexpected abrupt onsets can override a top-down set for color. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41 4: 1153-1165. doi:10.1037/xhp0000084

Author Folk, Charles L.
Remington, Roger W.
Title Unexpected abrupt onsets can override a top-down set for color
Journal name Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1939-1277
Publication date 2015-08-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/xhp0000084
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 41
Issue 4
Start page 1153
End page 1165
Total pages 13
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract A substantial literature supports the contention that the involuntary allocation of spatial attention to salient stimuli is contingent on the top-down goals of the observer. However, recent studies suggest that stimuli that violate expectations built up through experience can override top-down set, resulting in cognitively impenetrable, involuntary shifts of spatial attention. The present studies provide a strong test of this hypothesis by manipulating the frequency of presentation of salient, irrelevant, stimuli in spatial cuing and rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigms. Experiments 1, 2, and 3 found that for targets defined by color, infrequent, uninformative onset precues produce evidence of capture, but that for targets defined by onset, infrequent color singleton precues do not. Experiment 4 provides strong converging evidence for the ability of infrequent onsets to override a top-down set for color; when monitoring an RSVP stream for a colored target, an infrequent onset in the periphery produced a decrement in target report indicative of attentional capture. Together, the results suggest that infrequent onsets represent a special class of stimuli that can produce involuntary shifts of spatial attention that are cognitively impenetrable.
Keyword Novelty
Attentional capture
Abrupt onset
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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