Attention is classically classified according to mode of engagement into voluntary and reflexive, and type of operation into covert and overt. The first distinguishes whether attention is elicited intentionally or by unexpected events; the second, whether attention is directed with or without eye movements. Recently, this taxonomy has been expanded to include automated orienting engaged by overlearned symbols and combined attention engaged by a combination of several modes of function. However, so far, combined effects were demonstrated in covert conditions only, and, thus, here we examined if attentional modes combined in overt responses as well. To do so, we elicited automated, voluntary, and combined orienting in covert, i.e., when participants responded manually and maintained central fixation, and overt cases, i.e., when they responded by looking. The data indicated typical effects for automated and voluntary conditions in both covert and overt data, with the magnitudes of the combined effect larger than the magnitude of each mode alone as well as their additive sum. No differences in the combined effects emerged across covert and overt conditions. As such, these results show that attentional systems combine similarly in covert and overt responses and highlight attention’s dynamic flexibility in facilitating human behavior.
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