Lou L, 1999, "Selective peripheral fading: evidence for inhibitory sensory effect of attention" Perception 28(4) 519 – 526
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Selective peripheral fading: evidence for inhibitory sensory effect of attention
Received 28 July 1998, in revised form 1 March 1999
Abstract. A circular array of six discs, three green and three orange in alternate positions, was presented against a uniform grey background. Sixteen observers maintained steady fixation at the centre of the array, and were instructed to direct their attention to three discs of one colour and to ignore the three discs of the other colour. In about 10 s (mean = 11.35 s), some discs started to fade away from awareness. Of those starting to fade, most (mean = 81.3%) were those selected for attention. The faded discs remained out of awareness for up to a few seconds (mean = 1.55 s) during which other discs were clearly visible. The fading increased with eccentricity, a defining characteristic of Troxler fading. However, the selectivity of the fading strongly suggests that voluntary attention can have an inhibitory effect on early sensory processing. Were the fading entirely due to local sensory adaptation, the unattended stimuli would have to be equally adapted and yet somehow remain visible for seconds, which is not plausible.
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