We investigated whether the effect of covert attention on information accrual varies with eccentricity (4° vs 9°) and the complexity of the visual search task (feature vs conjunction). We used speed-accuracy tradeoff procedures to derive conjoint measures of the speed of information processing and accuracy in each search task. Information processing was slower with more complex conjunction searches than with simpler feature searches, and overall it was faster at peripheral (9°) than parafoveal (4°) locations in both search types. Covert attention increased discriminability and accelerated information accrual at both eccentricities, and the magnitude of this attentional effect was the same for both feature (simple) and conjunction (complex) searches. Interestingly, in contrast to the compensatory effect of covert attention on information processing at iso-eccentric locations (temporal performance fields), covert attention did not eliminate speed differences across eccentricity. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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