Exogenous Attentional Capture by Subliminal Abrupt-Onset Cues: Evidence from Contrast-Polarity Independent Cueing Effects

I. Fuchs, J. Theeuwes, U. Ansorge

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In the present study, we tested whether subliminal abrupt-onset cues capture attention in a bottom-up or top-down controlled manner. For our tests, we varied the searched-for target-contrast polarity (i.e., dark or light targets against a gray background) over four experiments. In line with the bottom-up hypothesis, our results indicate that subliminal-onset cues capture attention independently of the searched-for target-contrast polarity (Experiment 1), and this effect is not stronger for targets that matched the searched-for target-contrast polarity (Experiment 2). In fact, even to-be-ignored cues associated with a no-go response captured attention in a salience-driven way (Experiment 3). For supraliminal cues, we found attentional capture only by cues with a matching contrast polarity, reflecting contingent capture (Experiment 4). The results point toward a specific role of subliminal abrupt onsets for attentional capture. © 2012 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-988
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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