Advertisement

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 1633–1640 | Cite as

Hidden from view: Statistical learning exposes latent attentional capture

  • Matthew D. HilcheyEmail author
  • Jay Pratt
Brief Report
  • 157 Downloads

Abstract

Contingent-capture cueing paradigms have long shown that salient visual stimuli—both abrupt onsets and color singleton cues—fail to reliably capture attention if they do not resemble the search target. There may, however, be latent attentional capture in these situations, based on recent evidence that abrupt-onset cues can capture attention in difficult, but not easy, search displays (Gaspelin, Ruthruff, & Lien in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42, 1104–1120, 2016). To test this notion, we hypothesized that it should be possible to expose any latent capture generated by cues by means of statistical learning. In two versions of the classic four-location contingent-capture paradigm with easy search displays, cues either matched or mismatched (Exp. 1, color singleton; Experiment 2, abrupt-onset singleton) a target defined by a unique color in an array of distractors. Unbeknownst to participants, in both experiments the mismatch cue predicted the upcoming target location (81.5%), whereas the match cue did not (25%). Replicating typical findings, capture was robust and stable over time for the match cues. Mismatch color cues consistently failed to produce capture throughout the experiment. Importantly, mismatch abrupt-onset cues did produce capture after the first block of trials (i.e., after statistical learning). This dissociation exposes latent capture by abrupt-onset cues. Together, the findings suggest that attentional control sets are not so powerful that all information is filtered out, while also showing that statistical learning is not so powerful that it undermines all top-down control.

Keywords

Attentional capture Contingent capture Attention in learning Visual selective attention 

Notes

Author note

M.D.H. was supported by an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship. J.P. was supported by an NSERC Discovery grant (480593). We thank Erik Soby and Jenna D’Attoma for help with the data collection. The data and code for these experiments are available upon e-mail request to the first author. The experiments were not preregistered.

References

  1. Barras, C., & Kerzel, D. (2017). Target–nontarget similarity decreases search efficiency and increases stimulus-driven control in visual search. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 79, 2037–2043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Büsel, C., Voracek, M., & Ansorge, U. (2018). A meta-analysis of contingent-capture effects. Psychological Research. 1–26. Advance online publication.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-018-1087-3
  3. Carmel, T., & Lamy, D. (2014). The same-location cost is unrelated to attentional control settings: An object-updating account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 1465–1478.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036383 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Carmel, T., & Lamy, D. (2015). Towards a resolution of the attentional-capture debate. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41, 1772–1782.  https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000118 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen, P., & Mordkoff, J. T. (2007). Contingent capture at a very short SOA: Evidence against rapid disengagement. Visual Cognition, 15, 637–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eimer, M., & Kiss, M. (2010). Top-down search strategies determine attentional capture in visual search: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72, 951–962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fecteau, J. H., & Munoz, D. P. (2005). Correlates of capture of attention and inhibition of return across stages of visual processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17, 1714–1727.  https://doi.org/10.1162/089892905774589235 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Fecteau, J. H., & Munoz, D. P. (2006). Salience, relevance, and firing: A priority map for target selection. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10, 382–390.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2006.06.011 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Folk, C. L., & Remington, R. (2010). A critical evaluation of the disengagement hypothesis. Acta Psychologica, 135, 103–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Folk, C. L., & Remington, R. W. (2015). Unexpected abrupt onsets can override a top-down set for color. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41, 1153–1165.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Folk, C. L., Remington, R. W., & Johnston, J. C. (1992). Involuntary covert orienting is contingent on attentional control settings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 18, 1030–1044.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.18.4.1030 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Gaspelin, N., Leonard, C. J., & Luck, S. J. (2015). Direct evidence for active suppression of salient-but-irrelevant sensory inputs. Psychological Science, 26, 1740–1750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gaspelin, N., Leonard, C. J., & Luck, S. J. (2017). Suppression of overt attentional capture by salient-but-irrelevant color singletons. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 79, 45–62.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-016-1209-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gaspelin, N., Ruthruff, E., & Lien, M. C. (2016). The problem of latent attentional capture: Easy visual search conceals capture by task-irrelevant abrupt onsets. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42, 1104–1120.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hollingworth, A., Simons, D. J., & Franconeri, S. L. (2010). New objects do not capture attention without a sensory transient. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72, 1298–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Irons, J. L., Folk, C. L., & Remington, R. W. (2012). All set! Evidence of simultaneous attentional control settings for multiple target colors. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 758–775.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Jonides, J., & Yantis, S. (1988). Uniqueness of abrupt visual onset in capturing attention. Perception & Psychophysics, 43, 346–354.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03208805 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lamy, D., & Egeth, H. E. (2003). Attentional capture in singleton-detection and feature-search modes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29, 1003–1020.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.29.5.1003 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Le Pelley, M. E., Mitchell, C. J., Beesley, T., George, D. N., & Wills, A. J. (2016). Attention and associative learning in humans: An integrative review. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 1111–1140.  https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000064 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Lien, M.-C., Ruthruff, E., Goodin, Z., & Remington, R. W. (2008). Contingent attentional capture by top-down control settings: Converging evidence from event-related potentials. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 34, 509–530.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.34.3.509 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Müller, H. J., Geyer, T., Zehetleitner, M., & Krummenacher, J. (2009). Attentional capture by salient color singleton distractors is modulated by top-down dimensional set. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35, 1–16.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.35.1.1 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Neill, W. T., Valdes, L. A., Terry, K. M., & Gorfein, D. S. (1992). Persistence of negative priming: II. Evidence for episodic trace retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 18, 993–1000.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.18.5.993 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Rangelov, D., Muller, H., & Zehetleitner, M. (2017). Failure to pop out: Feature singletons do not capture attention under low signal-to-noise ratio conditions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 651–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schoeberl, T., Ditye, T., & Ansorge, U. (2018). Same-location costs in peripheral cueing: The role of cue awareness and feature changes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44, 433–451.  https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000470 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Schönhammer, J. G., & Kerzel, D. (2017). Detection costs and contingent attentional capture. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 79, 429–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schönhammer, J. G., & Kerzel, D. (2018). Optimal task-sets override attentional capture by rare cues. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44, 681–692.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Schreij, D., Theeuwes, J., & Olivers, C. N. L. (2010). Abrupt onsets capture attention independent of top-down control settings II: Additivity is no evidence for filtering. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72, 672–682.  https://doi.org/10.3758/APP.72.3.672 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Souto, D., Born, S., & Kerzel, D. (2018). The contribution of forward masking to inhibition of return. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 80, 1182–1192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Theeuwes, J. (1995). Abrupt luminance change pops out; abrupt color change does not. Perception & Psychophysics, 57, 637–644.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03213269 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Theeuwes, J. (2010). Top-down and bottom-up control of visual selection. Acta Psychologica, 135, 77–99.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.02.006 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Theeuwes, J., de Vries, G.-J., & Godijn, R. (2003). Attentional and oculomotor capture with static singletons. Perception & Psychophysics, 65, 735–746.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03194810 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wu, S. C., Remington, R. W., & Folk, C. L. (2014). Onsets do not override top-down goals, but they are responded to more quickly. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76, 649–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yantis, S., & Egeth, H. E. (1999). On the distinction between visual salience and stimulus-driven attentional capture. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 25, 661–676.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.25.3.661 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations