The manifestation of attentional capture: facilitation or IOR depending on task demands
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Orienting attention exogenously to a location can have two different consequences on processing subsequent stimuli appearing at that location: positive (facilitation) at short intervals and negative (inhibition of return) at long ones. In the present experiments, we manipulated the frequency of targets and responses associated with them. Results showed that, even at long SOAs, where IOR is usually observed, facilitation was observed for infrequent targets at the same time that IOR was measured for frequent targets. These results are difficult to explain on the basis of either task set modulation of attentional capture or task set modulation of subsequent orienting processes. In contrast, we offer an explanation by which the different cuing effects can be considered as different manifestations of attentional capture on target processing, depending on the task set.
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