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Configuration-specific attentional modulation of flanker target lateral interactions

Freeman, E. D., Sagi, D. & Driver, J. (2004). Configuration-specific attentional modulation of flanker target lateral interactions. Perception, 33(2), pp. 181-194. doi: 10.1068/p3481


Elements of a contour are often easier to detect when they possess collinearity, with their local orientations matching the global orientation of the contour. We recently reported attentional modulation of such lateral interactions between a central near-threshold target Gabor patch and flanking high-contrast patches (Freeman et al, 2001 Nature Neuroscience 4 1032-1036). Here, we examined whether such attentional effects reflect specific modulation of mechanisms sensitive to collinear configurations, or instead more general modulation of sensitivity to either the global or local orientation-components of the stimulus. Thresholds for detecting a central Gabor target were measured, while observers also judged the Vernier alignment between one pair of flankers and ignored a second flanker pair (when present). Target contrast-thresholds were facilitated only when attending collinear flankers. There was no facilitation when attending flankers that shared only local orientation with the target, or flankers that fell on a global axis aligned with target orientation but having orthogonal local orientation. Ignored collinear flankers had no effect on target thresholds. These results demonstrate strong and specific attentional modulation of contour-integration mechanisms in early vision sensitive to collinear configurations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Freeman, Sagi, Driver 2004. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Perception, 33 (2), pp. 181-194, 2004, 10.1068/p3481.
Publisher Keywords: Attention, Contrast Sensitivity, Discrimination (Psychology), Humans, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Psychophysics, Sensory Thresholds
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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