At cue either shared task-relevant features with the

At each point in time we are confronted with an enormous amount of
visual information. In-depth processing of every visual input would, under
normal circumstances, neither be beneficial nor practical. Hence, we only
select a fraction of visual input for further processing. This selection
mechanism is called visual attention. While the existence and necessity of this
selection mechanism is undisputed, the same cannot be said about the principles
that guide this mechanism. While one notion is that attention is driven to the
most salient object in the visual field (bottom-up or stimulus-driven), others
argue that the deployment of attention is guided by one’s own goals (top-down
or goal-directed). While most theories of visual attention propose that both
bottom-up and top-down mechanisms influence visual attention (e.g., Bundesen,
1992; Wolfe & Cave, 1994, Desimone & Duncan, 1995), research does not
seem to be as univocal regarding the role of bottom-up and top-down mechanisms
(for a review see Theeuwes, 2010).

             Probably the strongest
evidence for the top-down guidance of attention was reported by Folk,
Remington, and Johnston (1992). In their experiments, participants had to
search either for a color-singleton target or an onset-singleton target. Importantly,
shortly before the search display, an unpredictive cue was presented on one of
the four possible target locations. This cue either shared task-relevant
features with the cue (e.g., being a color singleton whilst the search) or not
(e.g., a color-singleton cue when participants searched for an onset-singleton).
Usually, cues that appeared at the correct target location (i.e., valid trials)
lead to a faster target detection and hence reduce response times (RTs). In
contrast, cues that appeared at a different location than the target (i.e.,
invalid trials) lead to longer RTs. This finding, first described by Posner
(1980), is referred to as a validity effect and is attributed to an attention
shift toward the cued location. Crucially, Folk et al. only found validity
effects for cues that matched the task-relevant feature and no validity effects
for cues that were completely task-irrelevant.1CB1  Proponents of the goal-directed
perspective of visual attention deployment take the results of Folk et al. as evidence
that not salience per se captures attention, but stimulus events that are
contingent to top-down control settings.

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             The results from Folk
et al. (1992), its many replications (e.g., Ansorge & Heumann, 2003, 2004;
Carmel & Lamy, 2014, 2015; Folk & Remington, 1998; Goller, Ditye, &
Ansorge, 2016; Grubert & Eimer, 2016; Lien, Ruthruff, & Johnston, 2010;
Liao & Yeh, 2013) and their interpretations were, however, not without
criticism. They are at odds with the notion from the stimulus-driven perspective,
in which all cues, matching and non-matching, should have elicited validity
effects, since also the non-matching cues were salient stimulus events. In
order to account for selective validity effects for top-down matching cues, it
has been argued that the experimental designs left open the chance for the
deallocation of attention from its first drawn-to location (Theeuwes, Atchley, &
Kramer, 2000). It was argued, that every cue captures attention but the
disengagement from cues that shared target-relevant features was slower because
the discriminability from the target was lower. This notion of rapid
disengagement has been demonstrated not to be able to explain contingent-capture
effects (Chen & Mordkoff, 2007, Ansorge, Kiss, Worschech, & Eimer, 2011).

             More recently, it has
been argued that intertrial priming is responsible for contingent capture effects
(Belopolsky, Schreij, & Theeuwes, 2010; Theeuwes, 2013). Intertrial priming
was first reported by Maljkovic and Nakayama (1994). They let participants
search for an odd colored target among distractors (i.e., pop-out search) and
the target could change color from trial to trial. Maljkovic and Nakayama found
that RTs were shorter when a target color in trial n was the same as in trial
n-1. They argued that these priming effects were caused by an implicit short-term
memory trace of the previous targets that facilitated target detection in the
current trial. Applying the logic from Maljkovic and Nakayama to the contingent-capture
protocol designed by Folk et al., Beloposky et al. (2010) observed that the
target identity in many contingent-capture studies remained identical throughout
a block. Hence only a cue sharing target-defining features could be primed by the
target in the previous trial.

Belopolsky et al. (2010) examined
the influence of target features from the previous trial on attentional capture
by cues in the following trial. To that end, they adapted Folk et al.’s contingent-capture
protocol. However, at the beginning of each trial participants were provided
with an instructional cue indicating the upcoming target feature (color or
onset singleton) with 100% validity. Crucially, they also presented neutral
instructional cues that did not specify the upcoming target feature. Analyzing
the neutral instructional cue trials, they found that the target of the
previous trial influenced the capability of the cue in the present trial to
summon attention to its location. The same pattern was found when participants
received no instructional cue and target properties could equally likely be
either onset or color. Belopolsky et al. concluded, that contingent capture
effects could hence be attributed to the bottom-up priming of relevant cue
features by target features in the previous trial.

Evidence for intertrial priming
effects in the contingent-capture protocol are sparse and a number of studies
were unable to find evidence in favor of intertrial priming of attentional capture
in this experimental paradigm (Eimer & Kiss, 2010; Folk & Remington,
2008, Experiment 2; Irons, Folk, & Remington, 2012; but see Folk &
Remington, 2008, Experiment 1). A reason for this inconsistency may lie in the
difference of experimental designs. While Belopolsky et al. investigated the
role of intertrial priming in conditions in which participants could not
establish a top-down set for a specific feature

1 It should be noted that all cues
are – unless otherwise mentioned – task-irrelevant, since they usually indicate
the correct target location at a chance level. When we speak of “task-relevant”
or “task-irrelevant” cues we refer to the features of a cue that are either
similar or dissimilar to the features defining the target in the target

weiß noch, dass du mir gesagt hast, dass Fußnoten in einem Manuskript mit
hochgestellten Zahlen angegeben werden. Hier habe ich nur diese Variante
gewählt, damit du beim Lesen nicht so viel scrollen musst. Das wird, wenn es
mit dem Einreichen ernst wird, natürlich angepasst.


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