Target–object integration, attention distribution, and object orientation interactively modulate object-based selection

Shahd Al-Janabi, Adam S. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The representational basis of attentional selection can be object-based. Various studies have suggested, however, that object-based selection is less robust than spatial selection across experimental paradigms. We sought to examine the manner by which the following factors might explain this variation: Target–Object Integration (targets ‘on’ vs. part ‘of’ an object), Attention Distribution (narrow vs. wide), and Object Orientation (horizontal vs. vertical). In Experiment 1, participants discriminated between two targets presented ‘on’ an object in one session, or presented as a change ‘of’ an object in another session. There was no spatial cue—thus, attention was initially focused widely—and the objects were horizontal or vertical. We found evidence of object-based selection only when targets constituted a change ‘of’ an object. Additionally, object orientation modulated the sign of object-based selection: We observed a same-object advantage for horizontal objects, but a same-object cost for vertical objects. In Experiment 2, an informative cue preceded a single target presented ‘on’ an object or as a change ‘of’ an object (thus, attention was initially focused narrowly). Unlike in Experiment 1, we found evidence of object-based selection independent of target–object integration. We again found that the sign of selection was modulated by the objects’ orientation. This result may reflect a meridian effect, which emerged due to anisotropies in the cortical representations when attention is oriented endogenously. Experiment 3 revealed that object orientation did not modulate object-based selection when attention was oriented exogenously. Our findings suggest that target–object integration, attention distribution, and object orientation modulate object-based selection, but only in combination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1968-1984
Number of pages17
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume78
Issue number7
Early online date19 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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