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Spatial and temporal attention modulate the early stages of face processing: behavioural evidence from a reaching paradigm.

Quek GL, Finkbeiner M - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: In the present study, we reconcile this divide by using a continuous behavioural response measure that indexes face processing at a temporal resolution not available in discrete behavioural measures (e.g. button press).Using reaching trajectories as our response measure, we observed that although participants were able to process faces both when attended and unattended (as others have found), face processing was not impervious to attentional modulation.Attending to the face conferred clear benefits on sex-classification processes at less than 350ms of stimulus processing time.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Science, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. genevieve.quek@mq.edu.au

ABSTRACT
A presently unresolved question within the face perception literature is whether attending to the location of a face modulates face processing (i.e. spatial attention). Opinions on this matter diverge along methodological lines - where neuroimaging studies have observed that the allocation of spatial attention serves to enhance the neural response to a face, findings from behavioural paradigms suggest face processing is carried out independently of spatial attention. In the present study, we reconcile this divide by using a continuous behavioural response measure that indexes face processing at a temporal resolution not available in discrete behavioural measures (e.g. button press). Using reaching trajectories as our response measure, we observed that although participants were able to process faces both when attended and unattended (as others have found), face processing was not impervious to attentional modulation. Attending to the face conferred clear benefits on sex-classification processes at less than 350ms of stimulus processing time. These findings constitute the first reliable demonstration of the modulatory effects of both spatial and temporal attention on face processing within a behavioural paradigm.

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Conditional mean LiftOff Latencies for Expt 1A.Subjects began their reaching movement earliest when the exogenous cue captured attention to the target’s location. Prime Type had no effect on when subjects began their reaching response.
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pone-0057365-g002: Conditional mean LiftOff Latencies for Expt 1A.Subjects began their reaching movement earliest when the exogenous cue captured attention to the target’s location. Prime Type had no effect on when subjects began their reaching response.

Mentions: We entered the mean LiftOff Latencies into the same repeated measures ANOVA described above. Here we observed a clear effect of Cue Location, F(2,30) = 130.14, p<.001, in that LiftOff Latencies (see Figure 2) were fastest in the target-cued condition (M = 196 ms), next fastest in the prime-cued condition (M = 210 ms) and slowest in the no-cue conditions (M = 264 ms). All differences were reliable (Tukey HSD; all adjusted p values<0.01), suggesting the spatial cue was effective in localising participants’ spatial attention. In contrast, Prime Type had no effect on LiftOff Latencies (p = .404), nor was the interaction significant (p = .373).


Spatial and temporal attention modulate the early stages of face processing: behavioural evidence from a reaching paradigm.

Quek GL, Finkbeiner M - PLoS ONE (2013)

Conditional mean LiftOff Latencies for Expt 1A.Subjects began their reaching movement earliest when the exogenous cue captured attention to the target’s location. Prime Type had no effect on when subjects began their reaching response.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3585364&req=5

pone-0057365-g002: Conditional mean LiftOff Latencies for Expt 1A.Subjects began their reaching movement earliest when the exogenous cue captured attention to the target’s location. Prime Type had no effect on when subjects began their reaching response.
Mentions: We entered the mean LiftOff Latencies into the same repeated measures ANOVA described above. Here we observed a clear effect of Cue Location, F(2,30) = 130.14, p<.001, in that LiftOff Latencies (see Figure 2) were fastest in the target-cued condition (M = 196 ms), next fastest in the prime-cued condition (M = 210 ms) and slowest in the no-cue conditions (M = 264 ms). All differences were reliable (Tukey HSD; all adjusted p values<0.01), suggesting the spatial cue was effective in localising participants’ spatial attention. In contrast, Prime Type had no effect on LiftOff Latencies (p = .404), nor was the interaction significant (p = .373).

Bottom Line: In the present study, we reconcile this divide by using a continuous behavioural response measure that indexes face processing at a temporal resolution not available in discrete behavioural measures (e.g. button press).Using reaching trajectories as our response measure, we observed that although participants were able to process faces both when attended and unattended (as others have found), face processing was not impervious to attentional modulation.Attending to the face conferred clear benefits on sex-classification processes at less than 350ms of stimulus processing time.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Science, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. genevieve.quek@mq.edu.au

ABSTRACT
A presently unresolved question within the face perception literature is whether attending to the location of a face modulates face processing (i.e. spatial attention). Opinions on this matter diverge along methodological lines - where neuroimaging studies have observed that the allocation of spatial attention serves to enhance the neural response to a face, findings from behavioural paradigms suggest face processing is carried out independently of spatial attention. In the present study, we reconcile this divide by using a continuous behavioural response measure that indexes face processing at a temporal resolution not available in discrete behavioural measures (e.g. button press). Using reaching trajectories as our response measure, we observed that although participants were able to process faces both when attended and unattended (as others have found), face processing was not impervious to attentional modulation. Attending to the face conferred clear benefits on sex-classification processes at less than 350ms of stimulus processing time. These findings constitute the first reliable demonstration of the modulatory effects of both spatial and temporal attention on face processing within a behavioural paradigm.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus