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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1998 Jun;24(3):847-58.

Selectivity in distraction by irrelevant featural singletons: evidence for two forms of attentional capture.

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Department of Psychology, Villanova University, Pennsylvania 19805, USA.


Four experiments addressed the degree of top-down control over attentional capture in visual search for featural singletons. In a modified spatial cuing paradigm, the spatial relationship and featural similarity of target and distractor singletons were systematically varied. Contrary to previous studies, all 4 experiments showed that when searching for a singleton target, an irrelevant featural singleton captures spatial attention only when defined by the same feature value as the target. Experiments 2, 3 and 4 provided a potential explanation for the discrepancy with previous studies by showing that irrelevant singletons can produce distraction effects that are dissociable from shifts of spatial attention. The results suggest the existence of 2 distinct forms of attentional capture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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