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Attentional dwelling and capture by color singletons.

Ruthruff, Eric; Faulks, Michael; Maxwell, Joshua W; Gaspelin, Nicholas.
Atten Percept Psychophys ; 82(6): 3048-3064, 2020 Aug.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32483661
Can salient stimuli-such as color singletons and abrupt onsets-involuntarily capture spatial attention? We previously reported evidence that abrupt onsets can capture attention, but the effects of this capture can become latent under easy visual search. The present experiments examined whether a similar pattern of latent capture occurs for task-irrelevant color singletons. Participants searched for a perfect circle among oval distractors. We manipulated search difficulty by varying the width of the oval distractors, making them more or less target-like (i.e., more or less circular). With search displays of homogeneous distractors, cue validity effects increased linearly with search difficulty, indicating capture by color singletons (Experiments 1 and 2). With heterogeneous distractors, however, discouraging the use of singleton-detection mode to find the target circle, cue validity effects from color singletons were negligible at all difficulty levels (Experiment 3). Using these exact same heterogeneous search displays, meanwhile, abrupt onsets produced very large cue validity effects (Experiment 4). We conclude that whereas abrupt onsets can capture attention based purely on salience, static color singletons capture attention only when made task-relevant by promoting singleton-detection mode (i.e., contingent capture). The data further support an attentional dwelling account of capture costs and reinforce the recommendation that, to ensure sensitivity to detect the presence (or absence) of attention capture, capture experiments should employ a difficult visual search.