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Open AccessArticle

Target Type Modulates the Effect of Task Demand on Reflexive Focal Attention

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Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory, Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3N9 Canada
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NeuroMI—Milan Center for Neuroscience, Milano 20126, Italy
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Psychology Department, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Milano 20126, Italy
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COMiB—Optics and Optometry Research Center, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Milano 20126, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marco Bertamini, Alessandro Soranzo and Wilson Christopher
Vision 2017, 1(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/vision1020013
Received: 6 March 2017 / Revised: 2 May 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 6 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reflexive Shifts in Visual Attention)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: focal attention; spatial attention; central vision; reflexive attention; detection; discrimination focal attention; spatial attention; central vision; reflexive attention; detection; discrimination
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Albonico, A.; Malaspina, M.; Daini, R. Target Type Modulates the Effect of Task Demand on Reflexive Focal Attention. Vision 2017, 1, 13.

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