Neural responses to target features outside a search array are enhanced during conjunction but not unique-feature search

Painter, David R., Dux, Paul E., Travis, Susan L. and Mattingley, Jason B. (2014) Neural responses to target features outside a search array are enhanced during conjunction but not unique-feature search. Journal of Neuroscience, 34 9: 3390-3401. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3630-13.2014

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Author Painter, David R.
Dux, Paul E.
Travis, Susan L.
Mattingley, Jason B.
Title Neural responses to target features outside a search array are enhanced during conjunction but not unique-feature search
Journal name Journal of Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0270-6474
Publication date 2014-02-26
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3630-13.2014
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 34
Issue 9
Start page 3390
End page 3401
Total pages 12
Place of publication Washington, United States
Publisher Society for Neuroscience
Language eng
Subject 2800 Neuroscience
Abstract The visual world is typically too complex to permit full apprehension of its content from a single fixation. Humans therefore use visual search to direct attention and eye movements to locations or objects of interest in cluttered scenes. Psychophysical investigations have revealed that observers can select target elements from within an array of distractors on the basis of their spatial location or simple features, such as color. It remains unclear, however, how stimuli that lie outside the current search array are represented in the visual system. To investigate this, we recorded continuous neural activity usingEEGwhile participants searched a foveal array of colored targets and distractors, and ignored irrelevant objects in the periphery. Search targets were defined either by a unique feature within the array or by a conjunction of features. Objects outside the array could match the target or distractor color within the array, or otherwise possessed a baseline (neutral) color present only in the periphery. The search array and irrelevant peripheral objects flickered at unique rates and thus evoked distinct frequency-tagged neural oscillations. During conjunction but not unique-feature search, target-colored objects outside the array evoked enhanced activity relative to distractor-colored and neutral objects. The results suggest that feature-based selection applies to stimuli at ignored peripheral locations, but only when central targets compete with distractors within the array. Distractor-colored and neutral objects evoked equivalent oscillatory responses, suggesting that feature-based selection at ignored locations during visual search arises exclusively from enhancement rather than suppression of neural activity.
Keyword Feature based attention
Frequency tagging
Neural oscillations
Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)
Visual search
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID DP110102925
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 17 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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