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Psychol Sci. 2011 Apr;22(4):472-7. doi: 10.1177/0956797611403319. Epub 2011 Mar 24.

Attention can retrospectively distort visual space.

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  • 1The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 153-8904, Japan. fuminori@fennel.rcast.u-tokyo.ac.jp


A brief visual cue that attracts attention repels the perceived location of a subsequent visual stimulus away from the focus of attention (attentional repulsion). In the first experiment reported here, we presented a visual cue after a visual target and found that the perceived location of the target stimulus shifted toward the location of the cue (attentional attraction). The subsequent experiments ruled out nonattentional hypotheses and indicated that the mislocalization effect is attributable to the attentional shift. The results of this study suggest that preceding and succeeding contexts differentially modulate the perceived location of a briefly presented stimulus. Our findings also underscore the importance of retrospective processes in visual attention.

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