Motion and position shifts induced by the double-drift stimulus are unaffected by attentional load


The double-drift stimulus produces a strong shift in apparent motion direction that generates large errors of perceived position. In this study, we tested the effect of attentional load on the perceptual estimates of motion direction and position for double-drift stimuli. In each trial, four objects appeared, one in each quadrant of a large screen, and they moved upward or downward on an angled trajectory. The target object whose direction or position was to be judged was either cued with a small arrow prior to object motion (low attentional load condition), or cued after the objects stopped moving and disappeared (high attentional load condition). In Experiment 1, these objects appeared 10 deg. from the central fixation and participants reported the perceived direction of the target’s trajectory after the stimulus disappeared by adjusting the direction of an arrow at the center of the response screen. In Experiment 2, the four double-drift objects could appear between 6-14 deg. from the central fixation and participants reported the location of the target object after its disappearance by adjusting the position of a small circle on the response screen. The errors in direction and position judgments showed little effect of the attentional manipulation-similar errors were seen in both experiments whether or not the participant knew which double-drift object would be tested. This suggests that orienting endogenous attention (i.e., by only attending to one object in the pre-cued trials) does not interact with the strength of the motion or position shifts for the double-drift stimulus.

In Attention, Perception & Psychophysics. (In Press.)
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