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OS_10. Attention

Friday, September 30th,   2011 [14:20 - 16:00]


OS_10.1 - Inhibition of return with endogenous cueing of low-level saliency-based processes

Soetens, E. , Henderickx, D. , Maetens, K. & Deroost, N.

Cognitive Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium

People are faster at detecting a visual target when it appears at a cued, as compared to an uncued location. With exogenous cues, a reversal of this cost-benefit pattern generally occurs when the cue-target interval exceeds approximately 250 ms. This pattern is known as ‘Inhibition of Return’ (IOR), and is usually not obtained with endogenous cues. We suggest that no IOR is found with endogenous cues, because most volitional attention shifts act upon higher processing levels, while the IOR- mechanism acts only upon bottom-up saliency-based orienting processes. To demonstrate this, participants had to orient to one out of two differently coloured peripheral cues, indicated by a (preceding) central cue. With this method, endogenous orienting could act upon low-level saliency processes when participants had sufficient time between central and peripheral cues. In all experiments, IOR was observed in the split cue conditions. When central and peripheral cues were presented simultaneously, or when the central cue followed the peripheral cues, no IOR was found. These results suggest that the use of saliency-based processes in endogenous (or exogenous) orienting is a prerequisite for the appearance of IOR.

OS_10.2 - Modality dependent central processing: Implications for parallel processing of two tasks

Goethe, K. 1 & Oberauer, K. 2

1 Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
2 Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

In two experiments we examined whether dual-task costs were influenced by the content specific characteristics of two tasks. Four groups practiced two tasks which differed across groups with respect to their modality pairings. Modality pairings increased or decreased representational overlap across tasks. The results clearly showed that the effects of representational overlap on dual-task costs were higher than one would predict according to their effects on single-task performance. Moreover, for two groups with low representational overlap dual-task costs vanished after practice. This strongly supports the view that a qualitative switch in processing from serial to parallel was realized for these task combinations. The observed effects cannot be explained by dual-task theories assuming response selection to be amodal or sequential for two tasks. We postulate that the manipulation of representational overlap has influenced the amount of crosstalk between the tasks at the stage of response selection with low crosstalk promoting parallel processing after practice.

OS_10.3 - Understanding the allocation of attention when faced with varying perceptual load in partial report: a computational approach

Kyllingsbæk, S. 1 , Sy, J. L. 2 & Giesbrecht, B. 2

1 Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen
2 Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara

The allocation of visual processing capacity is a key topic in studies and theories of visual attention. The Load Theory of Lavie (1995) has proposed that allocation happens in two stages where processing resources are first allocated to task-relevant stimuli and secondly remaining capacity ‘spills over’ to task-irrelevant distractors. In contrast, the Theory of Visual Attention (TVA) by Bundesen (1990) assumes that allocation happens in a single step where processing capacity is allocated to all stimuli, both task-relevant as well as task-irrelevant, in proportion to their relative attentional weight. Here we present data from two partial report experiments where we varied the number and discriminability of the task-irrelevant stimuli (Experiment 1) and perceptual load (Experiment 2). The TVA fitted the data of the two experiments well thus favoring the simple explanation with a single stage of capacity allocation. We also show that the effects of varying perceptual load can only be explained by a combined effect of allocation of processing capacity as well as limits in visual working memory. Finally, we link the results to processing capacity understood at the neural level based on the Neural Theory of Visual Attention by Bundesen, Habekost, & Kyllingsbæk (2005).

OS_10.4 - Effects of visible and masked arrow cues on visual attention

Reuss, H. , Kiesel, A. , Pohl, C. & Kunde, W.

Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Institute of Psychology III

Laterally presented masked spatial cues have been shown to capture attention only when they fit current top-down settings (top-down contingent capture). We investigated if the impact of centrally presented masked cues likewise depends on one’s intentions. To this end, we conducted two spatial cuing experiments. In both experiments, a central arrow cue that was either masked or visible (varied randomly on a trial-by-trial basis) was presented in each trial, pointing to the left or to the right. The target stimulus then appeared either at the cued or at the non-cued location. Participants responded to the identity of the target. In Experiment 1, the cues were not predictive of the target’s location. With visible cues, participants responded faster after valid than after invalid cues. There was no validity effect, however, with masked cues. In Experiment 2, the cues predicted the actual target location in 80% of the trials. Here, participants responded faster after valid than after invalid cues both with visible and with masked cues. In contrast to Experiment 1, masked cues impacted on attention, presumably because participants intended to use the cues due to their higher validity. Masked arrow cues therefore impact on attention in a top-down contingent way.

OS_10.5 - The functioning of alerting, orienting, and executive control networks under sleep deprivation

Martella, D. 1, 2 , Roca, J. 3 , Marotta, A. 3 , López-Ramón, M. 3 , Castro, C. 3 , Lupiáñez, J. 3 & Fuentes, L. J. 2

1 Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL). Donostia. Spain
2 Dpto. de Psicología Básica y Metodología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia Spain
3 Dpto. de Psicología Experimental y Fisiología del Comportamiento, Universidad de Granada, Campus Universitario Cartuja, 18071 Granada Spain

This study aims to assess the effects of sleep deprivation (SD) on attention performance. Specifically, we analyse the effect of presenting infrequent and unpredictable stimuli at the same time of measuring the functioning of the three attentional networks, under sleep-deprivation and not-sleep deprivation conditions, by means of the ANTI-Vigilance (ANTI-V). Thus, measures of tonic and phasic alertness, orienting, and executive control were obtained. A sleep deprivation has been conducted with two main objectives: a) Provide further evidence of the validity of the ANTI-V as an effective measure of vigilance, and b) Analyze the effects of SD on the three attentional functions. Twenty-five participants completed the ANTI-V on two sessions: first, on a morning after an usual sleep time and, again, after a 24h SD. Results revealed that the participants were slower and committed more errors after SD. Also, they were less able to detect the infrequent stimuli and their sensitivity (d’) was decreased. The phasic alertness score was diminished, while the orienting and executive control obtained similar scores in both sessions. These data suggest that the ANTI-V is effectively reflecting the vigilance performance. Also, some interesting differences from previous studies in the attentional functioning after sleep deprivation have been found.

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