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Covert visual search within and beyond the effective oculomotor range.

Smith, D.T. and Ball, K. and Ellison, A. (2014) 'Covert visual search within and beyond the effective oculomotor range.', Vision research., 95 . pp. 11-17.


Covert spatial attention is tightly coupled to the eye-movement system, but the precise nature of this coupling remains contentious. Recent research has argued that covert attention and overt eye-movements many share a common biological limit, such that covert exogenous orienting of attention is limited to stimuli that fall within the range of possible eye movements (the effective oculomotor range: EOMR). However, this conclusion is based on a single experimental paradigm: The Posner cueing task. Here, we examine the extent to which covert spatial attention is limited to the EOMR in visual search. Exogenous attention was assessed using a feature search task and endogenous attention assessed using a conjunction search task. The tasks were performed monocularly with the dominant eye in the frontal position or abducted by 40°. In the abducted position stimuli in the temporal hemispace could be seen, but could not become the goal of a saccadic eye-movement (i.e. they were beyond the EOMR). In contrast, stimuli in the nasal hemifield remained within the EOMR. We observed a significant effect of eye-abduction on feature search, such that search was slower when targets appeared beyond the EOMR. In contrast, eye-abduction had no effect on search times during conjunction search. Set size did not interact with target location or eye-position. It is concluded that optimal covert orienting of exogenous attention in visual search is restricted to locations within the effective oculomotor range.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Attention, Exogenous, Eye movement, Endogenous, Oculomotor, Covert visual search.
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Vision research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Vision research, 95, February 2014, 10.1016/j.visres.2013.12.003
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:10 January 2014
Date of first online publication:12 December 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

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