Article

Attention doesn't slide: Spatiotopic updating after eye movements instantiates a new, discrete attentional locus

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Attention Perception & Psychophysics (Impact Factor: 2.17). 01/2011; 73(1):7-14. DOI: 10.3758/s13414-010-0016-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

During natural vision, eye movements can drastically alter the retinotopic (eye-centered) coordinates of locations and objects, yet the spatiotopic (world-centered) percept remains stable. Maintaining visuospatial attention in spatiotopic coordinates requires updating of attentional representations following each eye movement. However, this updating is not instantaneous; attentional facilitation temporarily lingers at the previous retinotopic location after a saccade, a phenomenon known as the retinotopic attentional trace. At various times after a saccade, we probed attention at an intermediate location between the retinotopic and spatiotopic locations to determine whether a single locus of attentional facilitation slides progressively from the previous retinotopic location to the appropriate spatiotopic location, or whether retinotopic facilitation decays while a new, independent spatiotopic locus concurrently becomes active. Facilitation at the intermediate location was not significant at any time, suggesting that top-down attention can result in enhancement of discrete retinotopic and spatiotopic locations without passing through intermediate locations.

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    • "An interesting question for future research is whether this attentional modulation becomes more effective in the periphery of the visual field. One difference between our results and previous findings (Golomb et al., 2008Golomb et al., , 2011Golomb, Pulido, et al., 2010) is that we did not find evidence for a growing spatiotopic benefit in the condition with placeholder absent. However, in the original paradigm of Golomb et al., attention was manipulated through a spatial memory task, and this might have enforced participants to voluntarily recover the original location of the cue after the saccade (perhaps on the basis of other spatial landmarks, like the monitor's frame) leading to the late increase of the spatiotopic benefit. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that attentional facilitation lingers at the retinotopic coordinates of a previously attended position after an eye movement. These results are intriguing, since the retinotopic location becomes behaviorally irrelevant once the eyes have moved. Critically, in these studies participants were asked to maintain attention on a blank location of the screen. In the present study we examined whether the continuing presence of a visual object at the cued location could affect the allocation of attention across eye movements. We used a trans-saccadic cueing paradigm in which the relevant positions could be defined or not by visual objects (simple square outlines). We find an attentional benefit at the spatiotopic location of the cue only when the object (the placeholder) has been continuously present at that location. We conclude that the presence of an object at the attended location is a critical factor for the maintenance of spatial constancy of attention across eye movements, a finding that helps reconcile previous conflicting results.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Attention Perception & Psychophysics
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    • "However, the research has been controversial. Mathôt and Theeuwes [52] reported evidence for the initial coding of inhibition of return to be retinotopic, becoming spatiotopic over time, which also finds support in Golomb et al. [22] [23]. However, while Pertzov et al. [20] and Hilchey et al. [24] presented evidence for spatiotopic IOR at much shorter post-saccadic intervals than were tested by Mathôt and Theeuwes [52]. "
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    • "When the target is stepped backwards, saccades adapt downwards due to the mismatch, despite the target still being more eccentric to the fovea. Although this prediction necessitates some kind of corollary discharge signal and attention can be spatiotopically encoded [28] given the recent evidence [29] and preceding arguments [18, 19], we believe that an attentional comparison in retinotopic coordinates is more tenable. "
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    ABSTRACT: When saccadic eye movements consistently fail to land on their intended target, saccade accuracy is maintained by gradually adapting the movement size of successive saccades. The proposed error signal for saccade adaptation has been based on the distance between where the eye lands and the visual target (retinal error). We studied whether the error signal could alternatively be based on the distance between the predicted and actual locus of attention after the saccade. Unlike conventional adaptation experiments that surreptitiously displace the target once a saccade is initiated towards it, we instead attempted to draw attention away from the target by briefly presenting salient distractor images on one side of the target after the saccade. To test whether less salient, more predictable distractors would induce less adaptation, we separately used fixed random noise distractors. We found that both visual attention distractors were able to induce a small degree of downward saccade adaptation but significantly more to the more salient distractors. As in conventional adaptation experiments, upward adaptation was less effective and salient distractors did not significantly increase amplitudes. We conclude that the locus of attention after the saccade can act as an error signal for saccade adaptation.
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