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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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Related in: MedlinePlus

Predicted x-velocity as a function of Target-Viewing Time for each cue condition (A, B, C).Values reflect x-velocity averaged over the initial 30% of the reaching response. Target-Viewing Time (x-axis) is the duration for which the subject viewed the target prior to initiating their movement (note this value is always preceded by 50 ms of prime-processing). The slopes clearly indicate that the longer subjects wait to begin their response, the faster they will be moving in the correct direction during the early stages of their movement. Error bars calculated using within-subjects SE.
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pone-0057365-g004: Predicted x-velocity as a function of Target-Viewing Time for each cue condition (A, B, C).Values reflect x-velocity averaged over the initial 30% of the reaching response. Target-Viewing Time (x-axis) is the duration for which the subject viewed the target prior to initiating their movement (note this value is always preceded by 50 ms of prime-processing). The slopes clearly indicate that the longer subjects wait to begin their response, the faster they will be moving in the correct direction during the early stages of their movement. Error bars calculated using within-subjects SE.

Mentions: Figure 4 shows conditional mean x-velocity values averaged across the initial 30% of trajectories. X-velocity is shown here as a function of LiftOff Latency, our proxy for Target-Viewing Time. The main effect of LiftOff Quantile is clear, in that the longer subjects take to initiate their response, the faster their finger moves in the correct direction. The expected effect of Prime Type is also present, with incongruent primes producing smaller x-velocity values than congruent primes. With regards to Cue Location, prime-cue trials produced smaller x-velocity values than both target-cue and no-cue trials. An inspection of Figure 4 indicates that these higher x-velocity values associated with the No-Cue condition result because subjects initiate their responses much later on these trials than they do when there is a cue present (see Figure 2). Since they begin responding later in time, subjects have accrued more information about the target by the time they commence their classification response, resulting in more certain movement towards the correct response button.


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

Quek GL, Finkbeiner M - PLoS ONE (2013)

Predicted x-velocity as a function of Target-Viewing Time for each cue condition (A, B, C).Values reflect x-velocity averaged over the initial 30% of the reaching response. Target-Viewing Time (x-axis) is the duration for which the subject viewed the target prior to initiating their movement (note this value is always preceded by 50 ms of prime-processing). The slopes clearly indicate that the longer subjects wait to begin their response, the faster they will be moving in the correct direction during the early stages of their movement. Error bars calculated using within-subjects SE.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0057365-g004: Predicted x-velocity as a function of Target-Viewing Time for each cue condition (A, B, C).Values reflect x-velocity averaged over the initial 30% of the reaching response. Target-Viewing Time (x-axis) is the duration for which the subject viewed the target prior to initiating their movement (note this value is always preceded by 50 ms of prime-processing). The slopes clearly indicate that the longer subjects wait to begin their response, the faster they will be moving in the correct direction during the early stages of their movement. Error bars calculated using within-subjects SE.
Mentions: Figure 4 shows conditional mean x-velocity values averaged across the initial 30% of trajectories. X-velocity is shown here as a function of LiftOff Latency, our proxy for Target-Viewing Time. The main effect of LiftOff Quantile is clear, in that the longer subjects take to initiate their response, the faster their finger moves in the correct direction. The expected effect of Prime Type is also present, with incongruent primes producing smaller x-velocity values than congruent primes. With regards to Cue Location, prime-cue trials produced smaller x-velocity values than both target-cue and no-cue trials. An inspection of Figure 4 indicates that these higher x-velocity values associated with the No-Cue condition result because subjects initiate their responses much later on these trials than they do when there is a cue present (see Figure 2). Since they begin responding later in time, subjects have accrued more information about the target by the time they commence their classification response, resulting in more certain movement towards the correct response button.

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