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Publication Detail
The fate of task-irrelevant visual motion: Perceptual load versus feature-based attention
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Taya S, Adams WJ, Graf EW, Lavie N
  • Publication date:
    2009
  • Pagination:
    1, 10
  • Journal:
    Journal of Vision
  • Volume:
    9
  • Issue:
    12
  • Print ISSN:
    1534-7362
Abstract
We tested contrasting predictions derived from perceptual load theory and from recent feature-based selection accounts. Observers viewed moving, coloured stimuli and performed low or high load tasks associated with one stimulus feature, either colour or motion. The resultant motion aftereffect (MAE) was used to evaluate attentional allocation. We found that task-irrelevant visual features received less attention than co-localised task-relevant features of the same objects. Moreover, when colour and motion features were co-localised yet perceived to belong to two distinct surfaces, feature-based selection was further increased at the expense of object-based co-selection. Load theory predicts that the MAE for task-irrelevant motion would be reduced with a higher load colour task. However, this was not seen for co-localized features; perceptual load only modulated the MAE for task-irrelevant motion when this was spatially separated from the attended colour location. Our results suggest that perceptual load effects are mediated by spatial selection and do not generalize to the feature domain. Feature-based selection operates to suppress processing of task-irrelevant, co-localised features, irrespective of perceptual load.
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