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Taking a closer look at visual search: Just how feature-agnostic is singleton detection mode?

Harris, AM; Jacoby, O; Remington, RW; Travis, SL; Mattingley, JB; (2019) Taking a closer look at visual search: Just how feature-agnostic is singleton detection mode? Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics 10.3758/s13414-018-01642-y. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Singleton detection mode is a state in which spatial attention is set to prioritize any objects that differ from all other objects present on any feature dimension. Relatively little research has been devoted to confirming the consequences such a search mode has for stimulus processing. It is often implied that when observers employ singleton detection mode, all singletons capture attention equally, and when observers search for a single feature, only that feature captures attention. The experiment presented here contradicts these implications. We had observers search for colored singleton targets preceded by spatially uninformative colored singleton cues, and we recorded stimulus-evoked neural responses using electroencephalography (EEG). When observers had to respond to targets defined by two possible colors (a task intended to encourage singleton detection mode), cue validity effects were apparent for both target-color cues and irrelevant-color cues, and these effects were accompanied by an N2pc in the EEG data. Importantly, however, the target-color cues evoked significantly larger cue validity effects and N2pc components than did the irrelevant-color cues. In contrast, when observers had to respond to targets defined by one color (a task intended to encourage feature search mode), only cues of that color evoked a cue validity effect. Interestingly, the N2pcs produced by irrelevant cues did not differ between feature and singleton search, suggesting that the behavioral difference was not due to different attentional orienting. Rather, we suggest that behavioral singleton capture is due to a diminished same-location cost being produced by irrelevant-color cues.

Type: Article
Title: Taking a closer look at visual search: Just how feature-agnostic is singleton detection mode?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3758/s13414-018-01642-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-018-01642-y
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Visual search, Selective attention, Electrophysiology
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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068320
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