- An associative analysis of recognition memory: Relative recency effects in an eye-tracking paradigm.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition 2020
We report 2 eye-tracking experiments with human variants of 2 rodent recognition memory tasks, relative recency and object-in-place. In Experiment 1 participants were sequentially exposed to 2 images, A then B, presented on a computer display. When subsequently tested with both images, participants biased looking toward the first-presented image A: the relative recency effect. When contextual stimuli x and y, respectively, accompanied A and B in the exposure phase (xA, yB), the recency effect was greater when y was present at test, than when x was present. In Experiment 2 participants viewed 2 identical presentations of a 4-image array, ABCD, followed by a test with the same array, but in which one of the pairs of stimuli exchanged position (BACD or ABDC). Participants looked preferentially at the displaced stimulus pair: the object-in-place effect. Three further conditions replicated Experiment 1’s findings: 2 pairs of images were presented one after the other (AB followed by CD); on a test with AB and CD, relative recency was again evident as preferential looking at AB. Moreover, this effect was greater when the positions of the first-presented A and B were exchanged between exposure and test (BACD), compared with when the positions of second-presented C and D were exchanged (ABDC). The results were interpreted within the theoretical framework of the Sometime Opponent Process model of associative learning (Wagner, 1981).
- Location-based explanations do not account for active attentional suppressionNancy B Carlisle, and Aleksander NitkaVisual Cognition 2019
Recent behavioural research has provided support for an active attentional suppression of known distractor items. Reaction times are faster when participants are informed of the colour of distractors composing half of a search array than when being provided with no information about distractor colour (Arita, J. T., Carlisle, N. B., & Woodman, G. F. (2012). Templates for rejection: Configuring attention to ignore task-irrelevant features. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38(3), 580–584. doi:10.1037/a0027885). Arita and colleagues concluded participants must be actively suppressing the known distractor colour to aid search performance. However, two proposed location-based strategies may serve as potential alternative explanations for these results (Beck, V. M., & Hollingworth, A. (2015). Evidence for negative feature guidance in visual search is explained by spatial recoding. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41(5), 1190–1196; Moher, J., & Egeth, H. E. (2012). The ignoring paradox: Cueing distractor features leads first to selection, then to inhibition of to-be-ignored items. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 74(8), 1590–1605). In this study, we assess each of these location-based alternative explanations in turn. In Experiment 1, we use ERPs to examine early attentional deployments to determine whether cued distractors may first be attended before they are suppressed. In Experiment 2, we assess the proposal that participants use a location-based search strategy instead of deploying active attentional suppression. In both experiments, we find no evidence that participants are using location-based strategies to perform the tasks. These results are consistent with active attentional suppression serving as a component of our attentional architecture.
- Dissociation between the neural correlates of conscious face perception and visual attentionPsychophysiology 2017
Given the higher chance to recognize attended compared to unattended stimuli, the specific neural correlates of these two processes, attention and awareness, tend to be intermingled in experimental designs. In this study, we dissociated the neural correlates of conscious face perception from the effects of visual attention. To do this, we presented faces at the threshold of awareness and manipulated attention through the use of exogenous prestimulus cues. We show that the N170 component, a scalp EEG marker of face perception, was modulated independently by attention and by awareness. An earlier P1 component was not modulated by either of the two effects and a later P3 component was indicative of awareness but not of attention. These claims are supported by converging evidence from (a) modulations observed in the average evoked potentials, (b) correlations between neural and behavioral data at the single-subject level, and (c) single-trial analyses. Overall, our results show a clear dissociation between the neural substrates of attention and awareness. Based on these results, we argue that conscious face perception is triggered by a boost in face-selective cortical ensembles that can be modulated by, but are still independent from, visual attention.
- Action video game training reduces the Simon EffectPsychonomic bulletin & review 2016
A number of studies have shown that training on action video games improves various aspects of visual cognition including selective attention and inhibitory control. Here, we demonstrate that action video game play can also reduce the Simon Effect, and, hence, may have the potential to improve response selection during the planning and execution of goal-directed action. Non-game-players were randomly assigned to one of four groups; two trained on a first-person-shooter game (Call of Duty) on either Microsoft Xbox or Nintendo DS, one trained on a visual training game for Nintendo DS, and a control group who received no training. Response times were used to contrast performance before and after training on a behavioral assay designed to manipulate stimulus-response compatibility (the Simon Task). The results revealed significantly faster response times and a reduced cost of stimulus-response incompatibility in the groups trained on the first-person-shooter game. No benefit of training was observed in the control group or the group trained on the visual training game. These findings are consistent with previous evidence that action game play elicits plastic changes in the neural circuits that serve attentional control, and suggest training may facilitate goal-directed action by improving players’ ability to resolve conflict during response selection and execution.
- Controlled Attentional SuppressionNancy Carlisle, and Aleksander NitkaJournal of Vision 2015
When participants are given a cue about the color of distractors in an upcoming array, they are faster to find a target then when no distractor cue is given (Arita, Carlisle, & Woodman, 2012). While the benefit of this cue is not as large as the benefit for a cue that indicates the color of the target, it indicates participants can engage in active suppression of a specific color features. However, other evidence suggests that participants may first need to attend to the distractor color in order to suppress it, a ‘search and destroy’ mechanism (Moher & Egeth, 2012). In this study, we used the N2pc ERP component to evaluate the conflicting proposals from these two explanations. We used an array that contained 6 items of one color in the left visual hemifield, and 6 items of another color in the right visual hemifield. Participants were provided with a neutral cue (color will not appear in array), a negative cue (color will be distractor), or a positive cue (color will be target). The active suppression hypothesis predicts the cued distractors will be avoided in the negative cue condition, leading to an N2pc toward target features. The search and destroy hypothesis predicts the cued distractors will first be attended, leading to an N2pc toward the cued distractors. We found no evidence of an N2pc toward the cued distractors, in contrast to the prediction of the search and destroy hypothesis. Both the positive and negative cues led to N2pcs toward the target color. The latency of the N2pc response was much faster for the positive cue condition, leading to an interaction of early vs. late window and cue type. Overall, these results show that in some conditions participants can actively avoid a cued distractor feature, suggesting the possibility of active attentional suppression.