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Unconscious Cueing via the Superior Colliculi: Evidence from Searching for Onset and Color Targets.

Fuchs I, Ansorge U - Brain Sci (2012)

Bottom Line: When using color change cues instead of abrupt-onset cues, the cueing effect also vanishes (Experiment 6).Together the results support the assumption that unconscious cues can capture attention in different ways, depending on the exact task of the participants, but that one way is attentional capture via the SC.The present findings also offer a reconciliation of conflicting results in the domain of unconscious attention.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria. isabella.fuchs@univie.ac.at.

ABSTRACT
According to the bottom-up theory of attention, unconscious abrupt onsets are highly salient and capture attention via the Superior Colliculi (SC). Crucially, abrupt onsets increase the perceived contrast. In line with the SC hypothesis, unconscious abrupt-onset cues capture attention regardless of the cue color when participants search for abrupt-onset targets (Experiment 1). Also, stronger cueing effects occur for higher than lower contrast cues (Experiment 2) and for temporally, rather than nasally, presented stimuli (Experiment 3). However, in line with the known color-insensitivity of the SC, the SC pathway is shunted and unconscious abrupt-onset cues no longer capture attention when the participants have to search for color-defined targets (Experiment 4) or color-singleton targets (Experiment 5). When using color change cues instead of abrupt-onset cues, the cueing effect also vanishes (Experiment 6). Together the results support the assumption that unconscious cues can capture attention in different ways, depending on the exact task of the participants, but that one way is attentional capture via the SC. The present findings also offer a reconciliation of conflicting results in the domain of unconscious attention.

No MeSH data available.


Experiment 4. (a) Depicted is a schematic example trial. For participants searching for a red target, the depicted trial is an example of the SP condition, whereas for participants searching for a blue target, the same trial depicts a DP condition. (b) Depicted are the mean RTs and standard errors of the mean (error bars) of all participants for the short (solid line) and long SOA (dashed line).
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brainsci-02-00033-f005: Experiment 4. (a) Depicted is a schematic example trial. For participants searching for a red target, the depicted trial is an example of the SP condition, whereas for participants searching for a blue target, the same trial depicts a DP condition. (b) Depicted are the mean RTs and standard errors of the mean (error bars) of all participants for the short (solid line) and long SOA (dashed line).

Mentions: Having established subliminal attention with contrast cues and color cues under conditions in which targets can be located by their contrasts in the present Experiments 1 to 3, we turned to our test of the SC hypothesis. In Experiment 4, we used color-defined targets (red, green, or blue; between participants; for the respective CLab color coordinates see Experiment 1). Each color target was accompanied by two different color distractors. For example, if the color target was red, one distractor was green and one blue. The luminance of the color target and the color distractors was objectively the same as that of the background (all ls = 72.5 cd/m2). However, because of the participants’ individually varying sensitivity for different colors, all color stimuli had varying perceived contrasts—although in general rather low subjective contrasts. In this situation, the contrast responses that are elicited by the color distractors will functionally “mask” the contrast response elicited by the color target, (see Figure 1). In addition, targets and distractors were characterized as contrast reductions: At the beginning of each trial, three black disks or three white disks of high contrast were presented against the gray background. Then one disk turned into the color target and the others turned into the color distractors. Importantly, all these color changes came along with luminance increments of the black disks towards the background luminance (see Figure 5a) or with luminance decrements of the white disks towards the background luminance. Thus, all these changes were contrast reductions.


Unconscious Cueing via the Superior Colliculi: Evidence from Searching for Onset and Color Targets.

Fuchs I, Ansorge U - Brain Sci (2012)

Experiment 4. (a) Depicted is a schematic example trial. For participants searching for a red target, the depicted trial is an example of the SP condition, whereas for participants searching for a blue target, the same trial depicts a DP condition. (b) Depicted are the mean RTs and standard errors of the mean (error bars) of all participants for the short (solid line) and long SOA (dashed line).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4061783&req=5

brainsci-02-00033-f005: Experiment 4. (a) Depicted is a schematic example trial. For participants searching for a red target, the depicted trial is an example of the SP condition, whereas for participants searching for a blue target, the same trial depicts a DP condition. (b) Depicted are the mean RTs and standard errors of the mean (error bars) of all participants for the short (solid line) and long SOA (dashed line).
Mentions: Having established subliminal attention with contrast cues and color cues under conditions in which targets can be located by their contrasts in the present Experiments 1 to 3, we turned to our test of the SC hypothesis. In Experiment 4, we used color-defined targets (red, green, or blue; between participants; for the respective CLab color coordinates see Experiment 1). Each color target was accompanied by two different color distractors. For example, if the color target was red, one distractor was green and one blue. The luminance of the color target and the color distractors was objectively the same as that of the background (all ls = 72.5 cd/m2). However, because of the participants’ individually varying sensitivity for different colors, all color stimuli had varying perceived contrasts—although in general rather low subjective contrasts. In this situation, the contrast responses that are elicited by the color distractors will functionally “mask” the contrast response elicited by the color target, (see Figure 1). In addition, targets and distractors were characterized as contrast reductions: At the beginning of each trial, three black disks or three white disks of high contrast were presented against the gray background. Then one disk turned into the color target and the others turned into the color distractors. Importantly, all these color changes came along with luminance increments of the black disks towards the background luminance (see Figure 5a) or with luminance decrements of the white disks towards the background luminance. Thus, all these changes were contrast reductions.

Bottom Line: When using color change cues instead of abrupt-onset cues, the cueing effect also vanishes (Experiment 6).Together the results support the assumption that unconscious cues can capture attention in different ways, depending on the exact task of the participants, but that one way is attentional capture via the SC.The present findings also offer a reconciliation of conflicting results in the domain of unconscious attention.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria. isabella.fuchs@univie.ac.at.

ABSTRACT
According to the bottom-up theory of attention, unconscious abrupt onsets are highly salient and capture attention via the Superior Colliculi (SC). Crucially, abrupt onsets increase the perceived contrast. In line with the SC hypothesis, unconscious abrupt-onset cues capture attention regardless of the cue color when participants search for abrupt-onset targets (Experiment 1). Also, stronger cueing effects occur for higher than lower contrast cues (Experiment 2) and for temporally, rather than nasally, presented stimuli (Experiment 3). However, in line with the known color-insensitivity of the SC, the SC pathway is shunted and unconscious abrupt-onset cues no longer capture attention when the participants have to search for color-defined targets (Experiment 4) or color-singleton targets (Experiment 5). When using color change cues instead of abrupt-onset cues, the cueing effect also vanishes (Experiment 6). Together the results support the assumption that unconscious cues can capture attention in different ways, depending on the exact task of the participants, but that one way is attentional capture via the SC. The present findings also offer a reconciliation of conflicting results in the domain of unconscious attention.

No MeSH data available.