The interaction between stimulus-driven and goal-driven orienting as revealed by eye movements

D.B.B. Schreij, S.A. Los, J. Theeuwes, J.T. Enns, C.N.L. Olivers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It is generally agreed that attention can be captured in a stimulus-driven or in a goal-driven fashion. In studies that investigated both types of capture, the effects on mean manual response time (reaction time [RT]) are generally additive, suggesting two independent underlying processes. However, potential interactions between the two types of capture may fail to be expressed in manual RT, as it likely reflects multiple processing steps. Here we measured saccadic eye movements along with manual responses. Participants searched a target display for a red letter. To assess contingent capture, this display was preceded by an irrelevant red cue. To assess stimulus-driven capture, the target display could be accompanied by the simultaneous onset of an irrelevant new object. At the level of eye movements, the results showed strong interactions between cue validity and onset presence on the spatiotemporal trajectories of the saccades. However, at the level of manual responses, these effects cancelled out, leading to additive effects on mean RT. We conclude that both types of capture influence a shared spatial orienting mechanism and we provide a descriptive computational model of their dynamics. © 2013 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)378-390
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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