Multiple attentional control settings at distinct locations without the confounding of repetition priming
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An attentional control setting (ACS), which is based on the task goal, induces involuntary attentional capture by a stimulus possessing a target-defining feature. It is unclear whether ACSs are maintained for multiple targets defined as conjunctions of a color and location. In the present study we examined the possibility of local ACSs for dual targets defined as combinations of color and location, using different paradigms: visual search in Experiment 1, and spatial cueing in Experiment 2. In Experiment 1, a distractor captured attention only when its features matched the ACSs. Likewise, in Experiment 2, a significant attentional capture effect was found only with a matching cue, whose color and location were in line with the conjunction of the target definition. Importantly, the identical pattern of attentional capture was also obtained for a neutral-color target, which was unlikely to be primed by any color of the cue. Thus, these findings imply that the attentional bias depending on the match between the cue and target did not result from cue–target repetition priming. The present study highlights that top-down attentional control can be set flexibly to accomplish a complex task goal efficiently.
KeywordsAttentional capture Visual search Selective attention
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