Spatial attention and object-based attention: a comparison within a single task

David Soto, Manuel J Blanco
Vision Research 2004, 44 (1): 69-81
There is now much experimental evidence supporting the idea that visual attention can be deployed in at least two ways: one space-based and other object-based. However, it is not clear whether space- and object-based attention work in an integrated way within the visual system. In this article, we present two experiments in which we compare both components of attention within a cueing paradigm. Participants had to discriminate the orientation of a line that appeared within one of four moving circles, differing in colour. A cue appearing close to one of the four circles indicated the location or circle where the target stimulus was likely to appear. Spatial and object cueing effects were observed: responses were faster when target appeared either at the precued location or within the precued object. In addition, the object-cueing effect occurred only when the cue was spatially invalid and not when it was spatially valid. These results suggest that object- and space-based attention interact, with selection by location being primary over object-based selection.

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