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    Target and distractor processing and the influence of load on the allocation of attention to task-irrelevant threat

    Bretherton, P.M. and Eysenck, M.W. and Richards, Anne and Holmes, A. (2017) Target and distractor processing and the influence of load on the allocation of attention to task-irrelevant threat. Neuropsychologia , ISSN 0028-3932. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    This study investigated the characteristics of two distinct mechanisms of attention – stimulus enhancement and stimulus suppression – using an event-related potential (ERP) approach. Across three experiments, participants viewed sparse visual search arrays containing one target and one distractor. The main results of Experiments 1 and 2 revealed that whereas neural signals for stimuli that are not inherently salient could be directly suppressed without prior attentional enhancement, this was not the case for stimuli with motivational relevance (human faces). Experiment 3 showed that as task difficulty increased, so did the need for suppression of distractor stimuli. It also showed the preferential attentional enhancement of angry over neutral distractor faces, but only under conditions of high task difficulty, suggesting that the effects of distractor valence on attention are greatest when there are fewer available resources for distractor processing. The implications of these findings are considered in relation to contemporary theories of attention.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Attentional Capture, Suppression, Load, ERP, Threat, NT, PD, ND, N2pc
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Anne Richards
    Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2017 07:04
    Last Modified: 26 Jul 2019 22:50
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/20167

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