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Spatial probability as an attentional cue in visual search

Geng, JJ; Behrmann, M; (2005) Spatial probability as an attentional cue in visual search. Perception and Psychophysics , 67 (7) pp.1252 - 1268.

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Abstract

We investigated the role of spatial probabilities in target location during participants' performance of a visual search task. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that spatial probabilities could serve as a powerful attentional bias that produced faster detection of targets in high-probability locations than of those in low- or random-probability locations. The effect could not be explained by repetition priming alone. Moreover, responses to targets in low-probability locations were slowed only when a distractor was present in the high-probability location. In Experiments 3-5, we compared the effects of spatial probability with an explicit endogenous cue and a salient exogenous cue. Facilitation due to spatial probability was independent of any benefit afforded by the explicit endogenous cue but interacted with the salient exogenous cue, such that the exogenous cue validity effect was compressed for targets in the high-probability location. Together, these results suggest that the spatial probabilities governing target location constitute a potent bias of visual processing and, as such, can be considered an attentional cue that differs from both typical explicit endogenous and salient exogenous cues.

Type:Article
Title:Spatial probability as an attentional cue in visual search
Additional information:Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 1st Aug 2007
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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