Independence of implicitly guided attention from goal-driven oculomotor control

Chen Chen, Vanessa G. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Location probability learning—the acquisition of an attentional bias toward locations that frequently contained a search target—shows many characteristics of a search habit. To what degree does it depend on oculomotor control, as might be expected if habit-like attention is grounded in eye movements? Here, we examined the impact of a spatially incompatible oculomotor signal on location probability learning (LPL). On each trial of a visual search task, participants first saccaded toward a unique C-shape, whose orientation determined whether participants should continue searching for a T target among L distractors. The C-shape often appeared in one, “C-rich” quadrant that differed from where the T was frequently located. Experiment 1 showed that participants acquired LPL toward the high-probability, “T-rich” quadrant, an effect that persisted in an unbiased testing phase. Participants were also faster finding the target in the vicinity of the C-shape, but this effect did not persist after the C-shape was removed. Experiment 2 found that the C-shape affected search only when it was task-relevant. Experiment 3 replicated and extended the findings of Experiment 1 using eye tracking. Thus, location probability learning is robust in the face of a spatially incompatible saccade, demonstrating partial independence between experience-guided attention and goal-driven oculomotor control. The findings are in line with the modular view of attention, which conceptualizes the search habit as a high-level process abstracted from eye movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1460-1476
Number of pages17
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume84
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a graduate research award to C.C. and the Engdahl Research Fund to V.G.L. We thank Roger Remington, Caitlin Sisk, Jihyang Jun, and Yi Ni Toh for comments and suggestions. Correspondence should be directed to Chen Chen, 75 East River Road, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Email: chen5954@umn.edu

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a graduate research award to C.C. and the Engdahl Research Fund to V.G.L. We thank Roger Remington, Caitlin Sisk, Jihyang Jun, and Yi Ni Toh for comments and suggestions. Correspondence should be directed to Chen Chen, 75 East River Road, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Email: chen5954@umn.edu These experiments were not pre-registered. Experimental scripts, verification of code accuracy, condition means, and additional data analysis can be found on the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/9vdpw/).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Psychonomic Society, Inc.

Keywords

  • Location probability learning
  • Oculomotor control
  • Selection history effects
  • Spatial attention
  • Visual search

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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