Kristjánsson Á, Mackeben M, Nakayama K, 2001, "Rapid, object-based learning in the deployment of transient attention" Perception 30(11) 1375 – 1387
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Rapid, object-based learning in the deployment of transient attention
Árni Kristjánsson, Manfred Mackeben, Ken Nakayama
Received 16 March 2001, in revised form 25 June 2001
Abstract. We show that transient attention summoned by an exogenous cue shows rapid learning of the relationship between the cue and a subsequent target in a discrimination task. In experiment 1, performance was unaffected when a target always appeared in the same position on a large cue, but was degraded when the target could appear anywhere within the extent of the larger cue. Experiment 2 shows that it was not the predictability of where the target appeared within the cue that aided performance, but rather a consistent location mapping of cue and target, since predictably alternating the target location relative to the cue led to worse performance than when the target was presented in the same location relative to the cue from trial to trial. Further analysis of the results of experiment 2 shows that the learning is rapid, evident after one trial, and has a cumulative influence over four consecutive trials. Possible neural correlates of this form of learning are discussed, with a focus on the supplementary eye fields in the prefrontal cortex. The reported experiments show that transient attention is not a simple reflexive mechanism but can show rapid visuospatial learning, in object-based coordinates.
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