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Friday, September 30th,   2011 [17:20 - 19:20]

PS_1.016 - Capturing spatial attention: Do salience and relevance have multiplicative effects?

Risom, S. 1 , Lien, M. 1 & Ruthruff, E. 2

1 Oregon State University
2 University of New Mexico

Many previous studies have suggested that salient-but-irrelevant objects (e.g., a flashing object) cannot capture our spatial attention if we are looking for something else. The present study examined whether salience might nevertheless be able to enhance attention capture by objects that resemble whatever are searching for. Participants were instructed to search the target display for a letter in a specific color (e.g., red) and indicate its identity (L vs. T). The target display was always preceded by a non-informative cue display. The key manipulation whether the cue contained (a) only a relevant (target-related) feature, (b) only a salient-but-irrelevant feature, or (c) a combination of salience and relevance. The cue could appear in the same location as the target (valid trials) or in a different location (invalid trials); the difference between these conditions (the cue validity effect) provides an index of attention capture by the cue. The critical question is whether validity effects are greater for objects that are both relevant and salient than objects that only relevant.

PS_1.017 - ERP correlates of effects of divided attention on directed forgetting

Menor de Gaspar, J.

Department of Psychology. University of Oviedo. Oviedo. Spain

The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the reduction of attentional resources affect to the processing of items to be forgotten (TBF). The directed forgetting procedure (item-method) was used and the divided attention was manipulated between-subjects. The dual-task group performed the directed forgetting task while carried out a testing task sums. The single-task group only made the directed forgetting task. EEG was recorded and ERPs were obtained during the recognition test. The dual-task group recognized less items to be remembered (TBR) and more TBF-items than the single-task group. In 150-300 ms period, TBF items elicited ERPs more positive than TBR items on frontal electrode sites only in single-task group. In 500-700 ms period, the differences observed in single task-group between the ERPs evoked by TBR and TBF items were reduced in the dual-task group. These results challenge the view that directed forgetting in the item-method procedure is due to the passive decay of items to forget. Instead, they show that the withdrawal of processing resources during the study phase affects both the recognition of TBR and TBF items, indicating that intentional forgetting is an active process that requires attentional resources.

PS_1.018 - Hemispheric differences in the modulation of preparatory attention

Laura Gabriela, F. & Siéroff, E.

Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neuropsychologie Cognitives CNRS FRE 3292. Université Paris Descartes. Paris, France.

A crucial component in attentional control is the ability to prepare to the occurrence of an upcoming stimulus. LaBerge, Auclair, and Siéroff (2000) have developed the Attentional Preparatory Test (APT), which measures the ability of subjects to modulate (enhance) their preparatory attention to a target location when the probability of a distractor occurrence varies in several blocks (0%, 33%, 67%). We investigated the role of each hemisphere in preparatory attention, using a lateralized version of the APT, with targets in the right (RVF) or left (LVF) visual fields. Four experiments were conducted, varying the instructions (explicit or not about the proportion of trials with distractor) and the task (detection, localization). Although response times in the LVF were slower when distractors were present, without difference between the 33% and 67% blocks, response times in the RVF showed a linear increase as a function of the proportion of distractor trials (with the explicit instruction and regardless of the task). The results are explained by a differential hemispheric modulation of preparatory attention directed to the target and/or distractor, and are in agreement with a frequency matching strategy in the left hemisphere.

PS_1.019 - Increasing the attentional spotlight: stimulus rarity boosts attention to surrounding stimuli

Vermeulen, N. 1, 2 , Chang, B. 1 & Mermillod, M. 3

1 Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium
2 National Funds for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS), Belgium
3 University of Clermont-Ferrand, France

It is well-known that attentional resource capacities are limited, though it was recently found that detecting a target can facilitate the encoding of a simultaneously presented background image, an effect called “Attentional Boost” (Swallow & Jiang, 2010). However, it is not clear whether this effect is due to the target status of the target stimulus (i.e. the status of being responded to), or to the rarity of the target stimulus. We investigated this issue in two experiments by manipulating the frequency of target and distractor stimuli. In an oddball task, half the participants pressed the spacebar in response to the rare stimulus (i.e., the target was rare and the distractors were frequent), while the other half pressed the spacebar in response to the frequent stimulus (i.e., the target was frequent and the distractor was rare). Results showed that the presence of rare stimuli increased the recognition rates of background stimuli, regardless of whether the rare stimuli were targets or distractors. These findings demonstrated that the attentional boost effect is caused by stimulus novelty/rarity, rather than target status.

PS_1.020 - Modulation of automatic and controlled processes of visual search for words by task-set

Dampure, J. , Rouet, J. , Ros, C. & Vibert, N.

CeRCA, CNRS - Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, France

Two experiments were designed to investigate whether attentional sensitization of task-congruent processing pathways modulated both controlled and automatic processes during visual search for words (attentional sensitization model, Kiefer & Martens, 2010). According to visual search models, item processing through the parafoveal/peripheral visual field would be automatic, whereas full item identification would require foveal vision. In Experiment 1, participants searched for given target words in displays where semantically-related (SW), orthogaphically-similar (OW) or unrelated words (UW) were present. In Experiment 2, other participants searched for the same words within the same displays, but the target words were only defined by their categories. Eye movements were recorded with a Tobii® eyetracker. In Experiment 1, OW were fixated more often and for longer durations than UW. SW attracted participants’ gaze but were not fixated for longer durations. Detailed analyses demonstrated that the parafoveal/peripheral vision of SW attracted gaze only if another SW was currently fixated, whereas OW attracted participants’ gaze unconditionally. In Experiment 2, both OW and SW attracted participants’ gaze and were fixated for longer durations than UW, but none of them attracted gaze unconditionally. These results argue for a top-down control of both controlled and automatic processes of visual search by task-set.

PS_1.021 - Social status modulates social attention in humans

Dalmaso, M. , Pavan, G. , Castelli, L. & Galfano, G.

D.P.S.S., University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Humans tend to shift attention in response to the averted gaze of a face they are fixating, a phenomenon known as gaze-mediated orienting. In the present study, we aimed to address the extent to which the social status of the cuing face could modulate this phenomenon. Participants were asked to look at the faces of sixteen individuals and read a fake CV associated to each of them that could describe the person as high or low status. The association between each specific face and either high or low social status was counterbalanced between participants. The same faces were then used as cuing faces in a gaze-cuing task. The results showed a significant gaze-cuing effect for high-status faces but not for low-status faces, independently of the specific identity of the face. These findings confirm previous evidence regarding the important role of social factors in shaping social attention. Moreover, differently from previous research which manipulated facial features and physiognomic traits of the cuing faces, here we show that a modulation of gaze-mediated orienting can be observed even when social information are explicitly associated to an individual.

PS_1.022 - Stroop effect in a non-emotional and emotional task

Panadero Sanchis, M. A. , Castellanos, M. C. & Tudela Gramendia, P.

Experimental Psychology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Being the aim of the study to study the Stroop Effect in an emotional task, and compare it with a cognitive task, we conducted an experiment, using ERPs (128 electrodes) and emotional faces of fear and happiness that could be either men or women. In the cognitive task we have conflict using the word MALE or FEMALE. The response was to the gender of the face. The emotional conflict was created by using the words FEAR and HAPPINESS. The response was to the emotion of the face (Egner et al,2008). Results showed a clear main effect of task type and conflict, in the amplitude of the same group of electrodes and within the same time window between 380-690 miliseconds. Latency was influenced only by task type. The emotional task was slower and more positive in central frontal sites than the cognitive task. In central parietal electrodes the emotional task was also slower and more negative than the cognitive task. As for the conflict variable, incongruent trials showed greater negativity in central parietal electrodes and greater positivity in frontal sites than congruent trials. No interaction between types of task and conflict was found.

PS_1.023 - Temporal expectancy generalizes across response locations and effectors

Thomaschke, R. & Dreisbach, G.

Institut für Psychologie. Universität Regensburg. Regensburg, Germany.

We conducted two experiments to investigate whether temporal expectancy is specific to response effectors or response locations. In a speeded binary forced-choice task, participants used four different response buttons, two (up and down) left buttons and two (up and down) right buttons, operated by the index (down) and middle (up) finger of a given hand. Participants had to switch between the left and right button set from trial to trial. One stimulus was assigned to the upper (left/right) button, while the other was assigned to the lower button. In Experiment 1, both button sets were operated by different hands, so that fingers could rest on the buttons throughout the procedure, while in Experiment 2, participants had to operate both sets with one hand, so that fingers had to switch buttons from trial to trial. In both experiments, foreperiods (600 and 1800 ms) correlated with the two stimuli only for one button set but did not correlate with the buttons of the other set. Results show that on both button sets, responses were faster for frequent stimulus-foreperiod combinations than for infrequent ones. Thus, temporal expectancy generalizes over different effectors and response locations.

PS_1.024 - The role that global reaction time and accuracy play as indirect measures of vigilance when assessing the functioning of the three attentional networks: Convergent evidence from four studies

Roca, J. 1 , Castro, C. 1 , López-Ramón, M. 1, 2 & Lupiáñez, J. 1

1 Facultad de Psicología. Universidad de Granada (Spain).
2 Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-CONICET (Argentina).

The study of human attention is a key issue in understanding drivers’ behaviour and preventing road traffic accidents. Recent research has attempted to develop a quick means of measuring attentional performance and to analyse the role played by each attentional function (executive control, attentional orienting, phasic alertness, and also tonic alertness) in various cognitive psychology studies and also in applied contexts, such as in driving-related studies. In the current work, the ANTI-Vigilance (i.e., a variation of the Attentional Networks Test for Interactions that includes an additional measure of vigilance) has been used and data from a series of four different studies have been analysed together to make main findings more robust. Convergent evidence from more than 150 participants shows that the ANTI-Vigilance provides a useful direct measure of vigilance, in addition to the usual ANTI measures. Significant correlations between global performance measures (global reaction time and global accuracy averaged across conditions) and Signal Detection Theory measures of vigilance were found. These results support the idea that the global measures are indirectly related to vigilance performance. The role that these measures played in previous studies using the ANT or the ANTI tasks, especially in driving behaviour research, are now further discussed.

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