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Changes in Tonic Alertness but Not Voluntary Temporal Preparation Modulate the Attention Elicited by Task-Relevant Gaze and Arrow Cues

1
Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada
2
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1B1, Canada
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Vision 2018, 2(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/vision2020018
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 1 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reflexive Shifts in Visual Attention)
Attention is engaged differently depending on the type and utility of an attentional cue. Some cues like visual transients or social gaze engage attention effortlessly. Others like symbols or geometric shapes require task-relevant deliberate processing. In the laboratory, these effects are often measured using a cuing procedure, which typically manipulates cue type and its utility for the task. Recent research however has uncovered that in addition to spatial orienting, this popular paradigm also engages two additional processes—tonic alertness and voluntary temporal preparation—both of which have been found to modulate spatial orienting elicited by task-irrelevant cues but not task-relevant symbols. Here we assessed whether changes in tonic alertness and voluntary temporal preparation also modulated attentional orienting elicited by task-relevant social gaze and nonsocial arrow cues. Our results indicated that while the effects of spatial attention were reliable in all conditions and did not vary with cue type, the magnitude of orienting was larger under high tonic alertness. Thus, while the cue’s task utility appears to have the power to robustly drive attentional orienting, changes in tonic alertness may modulate the magnitude of such deliberate shifts of attention elicited by task-relevant central social and nonsocial cues. View Full-Text
Keywords: spatial attention; temporal attention; attentional orienting; reflexive attention; voluntary attention; social attention; automated symbolic orienting; visual attention spatial attention; temporal attention; attentional orienting; reflexive attention; voluntary attention; social attention; automated symbolic orienting; visual attention
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Hayward, D.A.; Ristic, J. Changes in Tonic Alertness but Not Voluntary Temporal Preparation Modulate the Attention Elicited by Task-Relevant Gaze and Arrow Cues. Vision 2018, 2, 18.

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