Attentional effects of negative faces: Top-down contingent or involuntary?

Horstmann, Gernot and Becker, Stefanie I. (2008) Attentional effects of negative faces: Top-down contingent or involuntary?. Perception & Psychophysics, 70 8: 1416-1434. doi:10.3758/PP.70.8.1416

Author Horstmann, Gernot
Becker, Stefanie I.
Title Attentional effects of negative faces: Top-down contingent or involuntary?
Journal name Perception & Psychophysics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1943-3921
Publication date 2008-11-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3758/PP.70.8.1416
Open Access Status
Volume 70
Issue 8
Start page 1416
End page 1434
Total pages 19
Editor Jeremy M. Wolfe
Place of publication Austin, Texas, USA
Publisher Psychonomic Society
Language eng
Subject C1
170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
170201 Computer Perception, Memory and Attention
170203 Knowledge Representation and Machine Learning
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
970108 Expanding Knowledge in the Information and Computing Sciences
930199 Learner and Learning not elsewhere classified
Abstract Recent research has substantiated that schematic negative faces are found more efficiently than positive faces among crowds of distractor faces of varying set sizes. The present study asks whether this relative search asymmetry (RSA) is intention driven or due to involuntary attentional capture. To that aim, participants were first tested in a condition in which negative and positive faces were searched for, and then in a condition in which negative or positive schematic faces appeared at chance level at the position of the target (valid trials) or of a distractor (invalid trials), the faces thus being task irrelevant (the 1/n paradigm). The expected search benefit for valid negative-face target trials most clearly occurred when participants searched for a target defined by a conjunction of color and position; when the target was defined either by an orientation or color singleton, we found rather weak or no evidence for involuntary attention capture by negative faces. We see the results as being (1) evidence that the RSA is partly based on stimulus-driven factors that occur independently of the intention to search for a positive or negative face, and (2) consistent with the assumption that the effects are mainly due to a more efficient rejection of positive-face than of negative-face distractors, rather than being due to attentional capture by the target.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Additional Notes Alternate Edition ISSN: 1943-393X.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 26 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 28 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 09 Apr 2009, 18:47:12 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology