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Conjunction search is relational: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence

Becker, SI; Harris, AM; York, A; Choi, J; (2017) Conjunction search is relational: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance , 43 (10) pp. 1828-1842. 10.1037/xhp0000371. Green open access

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Abstract

Attention selects behaviorally relevant stimuli for further capacity-limited processing and gates their access to awareness. Given the importance of attention for conscious perception, it is important to determine the factors and mechanisms that drive attention. A widespread view is that attention is biased to the specific feature values of a conjunction target (e.g., vertical, red, medium). By contrast, the results of the present study show that attention is tuned to the 2 relative features that distinguish a conjunction target from the irrelevant nontargets (e.g., larger and bluer). Moreover, an irrelevant conjunction cue that is briefly presented prior to the target can automatically attract attention, even in the absence of any feature contrasts. Importantly, automatic orienting to the conjunction cue was completely independent of the physical similarity between cue and target, and depended only on whether the conjunction cue matched the relative features of the target. These results demonstrate that attentional orienting is determined by a mechanism that can rapidly extract information about feature relationships and guide attention to the stimulus that best matches the relative attributes of the target. These results are difficult to reconcile with extant feature-specific accounts or object-based accounts of attention and argue for a relational account of conjunction search. (PsycINFO Database Record

Type: Article
Title: Conjunction search is relational: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000371
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000371
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Attention, Color Perception, Cues, Electroencephalography, Eye Movements, Humans, Orientation, Reaction Time, Size Perception, Visual Perception
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044755
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