Focusing attention on a limited space within the environment allows us to concentrate our resources selectively on that location while ignoring the rest of the space. In this study we investigated how the deployment of the focal attention in foveal vision can be affected by task and stimuli specificity. In particular, we measured the cue-size effect in four experiments: shape detection (Experiment 1), shape discrimination (Experiment 2), letter detection (Experiment 3), and letter discrimination (Experiment 4). Our results highlight that, although the focal component can be elicited by different tasks (i.e., detection or discrimination) and by using different types of stimuli (i.e., shapes or letters), those effects interact with each other. Specifically, the effect of focal attention is more noticeable when letter stimuli are used in the case of a detection task, while no difference between letters and geometrical shapes is observed in the discrimination task. Furthermore, the analysis of the cue-size effect across the four experiments confirmed that the deployment of focal attention in foveal vision is mainly reflexive.
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