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Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2014;67(6):1053-73. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2013.840005. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Exploring conflict- and target-related movement of visual attention.

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a Experimental Psychology Unit , Helmut-Schmidt-University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg , Hamburg , Germany.


Intermixing trials of a visual search task with trials of a modified flanker task, the authors investigated whether the presentation of conflicting distractors at only one side (left or right) of a target stimulus triggers shifts of visual attention towards the contralateral side. Search time patterns provided evidence for lateral attention shifts only when participants performed the flanker task under an instruction assumed to widen the focus of attention, demonstrating that instruction-based control settings of an otherwise identical task can impact performance in an unrelated task. Contrasting conditions with response-related and response-unrelated distractors showed that shifting attention does not depend on response conflict and may be explained as stimulus-conflict-related withdrawal or target-related deployment of attention.


Cognitive control.; Flanker task; Response conflict; Visual attention; Visual search

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