Allocation of visual attention to spatial locations

Tradeoff functions for event-related brain potentials and detection performance

George R Mangun, S. A. Hillyard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

155 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded in response to unilateral arrays of letters flashed in rapid, randomized sequences to left and right visual field locations. Subjects were required to focus attention exclusively on either left or right field stimuli, or to divide attention in different proportions between the two fields, with the aim of detecting infrequent target letters. Both d' and percent hits for target detections increased significantly as attentional allocation to a stimulus location increased. Attention operating characteristic (AOC) curves for the target detection scoreswere highly similar in form to those for the amplitudes of the long-latency, endogenous ERP components-N350-650 and P400-800 (P300). All of these measures showed gradual, nearly rectangular tradeoff functions. In contrast, the AOC curves for the early sensoryevoked components displayed steep, nearly linear amplitude tradeoffs as attention was increasingly allocated to one visual field at the expense of the other. The early and late ERP components were considered as indices of separate but interacting levels of attentional selection having different operating principles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-550
Number of pages19
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1990

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Evoked Potentials
brain
Visual Fields
event
Brain
performance
stimulus
Visual Attention
Event-related Brain Potentials
Letters
Stimulus
Visual Field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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