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Novelty and saliency in attentional capture by unannounced motion singletons

Novelty and saliency in attentional capture by unannounced motion singletons

Acta Psychologica 136(3): 290-299

The present study examined attentional capture by an unannounced motion singleton in a visual search task. The results showed that a motion singleton only captured attention on its first unannounced occurrence when the observers had not encountered moving items before in the experiment, whereas it failed to capture when observers were familiar with moving items. This indicates that motion can capture attention independently of top-down attentional control settings, but only when motion as a feature is unexpected and new. An additional experiment tested whether salient items can capture attention when all stimuli possess new and unexpected features, and novelty information cannot guide attention. The results showed that attention was shifted to the location of the salient item when all items were new and unexpected, reinforcing the view that salient items receive attentional priority. The implications of these results for current theories of attention are discussed.

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Accession: 054679409

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21208608

DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.12.002

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