Attending to Color and Shape: The Special Role of Location in Selective...

This experiment is based on the following paper:

Tsal, Y., & Lavie, N. (1988). Attending to Color and Shape: The special role of location in selective visual processing. Perception & Psychophysics, 44, 15-21.


Is location simply another property of a visual stimulus, like color and shape, or does it play a special role? Early theories of visual attention assumed that location is ignored unless it happens to be the relevant stimulus dimension to which attention is being directed. However, more recent studies have shown that advanced knowledge about the location of a target facilitates processing in that location. These results have led to a theory that attention "operates as a ‘spotlight’ that ‘illuminates’ a given small area within which stimuli are processed in detail.” (p.15)

In the present study we explored the possibility that attending to location is a general and mandatory process that is not restricted to tasks that precue the locus of a stimulus. Specifically, our
purpose was to investigate whether attention is allocated to location even when this dimension is irrelevant to the task, that is, when the target is prespecified by color or by shape. (p.16)


The full text describing the experiment is available here.

The experiments are available below. (47.7 KB) (68.3 KB)