The time course of spatial orienting elicited by central and peripheral cues: evidence from event-related brain potentials

M Eimer
Biological Psychology 2000, 53 (2): 253-8
To study differences in the time course of attentional orienting triggered by salient peripheral events and by central symbolic precues, event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded in response to letter stimuli following spatially informative symbolic or peripheral precues after a cue-target interval (CTI) of either 200 or 700 ms. Stimuli at cued (attended) locations elicited an enhanced negativity relative to stimuli at uncued locations. With short CTIs, these effects started around 150 ms post-stimulus for peripheral cues. They were delayed by about 100 ms for central cues. This latency difference is assumed to reflect fast exogenous orienting elicited by peripheral, but not by central cues. Beyond 200 ms post-stimulus, attentional negativities were larger with long CTIs than with short CTIs for both cue types, presumably related to the gradual build-up of endogenous orienting triggered by spatially predictive events.

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