Exploring the carry-over of top-down attentional settings in dynamic conditions

Thompson, C ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7967-7019, Jalali, M and Hills, PJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0097-9170 2023, 'Exploring the carry-over of top-down attentional settings in dynamic conditions' , Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology .

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A top-down attentional set can persist from a relevant task to an irrelevant task, influencing allocation of attentional resources, visual search, and performance. Whilst this 'carry-over' effect has been found across numerous experiments, past studies have utilised paradigms that present similar tasks to the same spatial location. The present research explored whether attentional settings persist in more dynamic situations. In Experiment One participants played a computer game that encouraged a horizontal, vertical, or random spread of search. After 10 or 30 seconds they moved 90° to their right and monitored a driving video for hazards. Eye movements to the videos were not impacted by the characteristics of the preceding game, revealing no carry-over of attentional settings. One possible explanation for this was the visuospatial shift between the tasks. To explore this further, Experiment Two adopted a similar paradigm to previous research; participants searched horizontal, vertical, or random letter strings before completing an image search. In one block the tasks were presented to the same screen, and in one block the tasks were presented to different screens (incorporating a 90° visuospatial shift mid-trial). Carry-over was found in the one-screen block, with significantly wider horizontal search and narrower vertical search in the pictures after a horizontal letter search. However, there was no carry-over from the letter to the picture task in the two-screen block. This indicates the flexibility of attentional control in dynamic situations, and it is suggested that persistence of attentional settings will be most costly under stable conditions.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1747-0218
Funders: British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2023 09:25
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2023 09:30
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/66394

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