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Orienting visual attention in space is capture of attention purely stimulus-driven or contingent upon goal-driven settings? /

by Chen, Peggy.

Abstract (Summary)
iii Visuospatial attention refers to the selection of stimuli that appear in the location to which attention is oriented. One way to allocate attention to a certain location (in the absence of eye-movements) is driven by stimuli. This occurs when a salient, external stimulus captures attention, such as when attention is drawn to a bright, flashing light. The present study focuses on the question: Is attention captured by any and all salient stimuli, or only by stimuli that contain the attribute that defines the target? Two hypotheses have been presented to answer this question. Contingent Capture argues that a stimulus can only capture attention when it contains some attributes in common with the target or what is currently relevant to the task. In opposition to Contingent Capture, Rapid Disengagement posits that stimuli that do not contain the target-defining attribute can capture attention but rather briefly. Two independent experiments were conducted. The behavioral experiment provided findings consistent with Contingent Capture. However, the psychophysiological experiment did not provide an answer to the addressed question. Therefore, evidence up to this point favors Contingent Capture over Rapid Disengagement. That is, attentional capture is modulated by goal-driven control settings. At the same time, however, the present work also raises questions concerning the approaches that have been employed in the study of visual attention. Future lines of research are suggested.
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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