Motion fails to capture attention. But onset of motion succeeds.
16.523, Friday, May 10, 5:30 - 8:00 pm, Vista Ballroom
Fook Chua1; 1Psychology, National University of Singapore
There is clear evidence that onset of motion captures attention, but it is less clear whether motion, itself, captures attention. This set of experiments investigated attention capture by moving objects with the spatial cuing paradigm. An irrelevant dynamic-singleton cue was presented before the appearance of the search array. Capture was assessed by locating the target in the same, or a different, place as the cue. If cue and target were in different locations, and the cue captured attention, attention would have to be redeployed away from the cue, and to the target. If cue and target occupied the same location, the extra shift may be obviated, thereby facilitating performance. The experimental sequence contained 3 main frames: (1) fixation frame, which established the search letters' positions. Each of these critical locations was surrounded by four spots. (2) cue frame, in which the dynamic irrelevant cue was presented. The motion of one set of spots constituted the irrelevant cue. (3) a search frame, in which the target and distractors were presented. The contrast was between (a) spots that continued to revolve, while the other spots ceased their motion (continuous-motion condition) and (b) spots that only started to move when the cue frame appeared (motion-onset condition). In separate experiments, we manipulated the type of dynamic discontinuity that defined the target's location. When the target letter appeared as an abrupt onset, or was the lone rotating letter, capture was observed in the motion-onset condition. There was either no capture (target onset) or weak capture (target rotates) for the continuous-motion condition. It was not previous motion that undermined the capture capacity of the continuous-motion cue. When the surround spots changed their motion from winking on-and-off to rotating around the placeholder at cue presentation, they successfully captured attention.