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VPL-reports, 6, 1-24

Cued visual selection – a tool to study the dynamics of neural processes in perception?

Hans-Christoph Nothdurft
Visual Perception Laboratory (VPL) Göttingen

Cued visual selection is the (cued) picking of a single item from a crowd. Earlier studies on visual search have shown that salient items are quickly detected and identified, independent of whether salience is generated from feature contrast or from additional salience markers (“cues”) that attract focal attention. The present paper measured the dynamics of cuing effects in arrays of oriented lines. Cues were shown at various delays before (Exp. 1) or after (Exp. 2) line pattern onset. In all cases, the cue marked the location of one item (the "target") the orientation of which had then to be identified. Variations of presentation time until the pattern was masked revealed interesting modulations of target visibility. When cues were presented before the target (the standard cuing paradigm, Exp. 1), performance in target identification was highest at short delays between cue and target onset, and then continuously diminished as the delay increased. Variations with target eccentricity were mainly due to crowding (Exp. 1b). However, when lines were onset first and cues later superimposed (Exp. 2), target identification rates were strongly modulated with the cue delay, reflecting the typical time course of a transient neural response after line pattern onset. Target identification was fast when cues were shown 100-400ms after stimulus onset (when transient responses peak) and slowed down at longer cue delays (when responses were attenuated). This suggests that cued visual selection might be a useful tool to look at the dynamics of ongoing neural activity in the brain.

Published online: 6-Dec-2017

Citation: Nothdurft, H.C. (2017). Cued visual selection – a tool to study the dynamics of neural processes in perception? VPL-reports, 6, 1-24, www.vpl-reports.de/6/

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