You can't stop new motion: Attentional capture despite a control set for colour

  • Al-Aidroos N
  • Guo R
  • Pratt J
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Abstract

When a stationary object begins to move, visual spatial attention is reflexively deployed to the location of that object. We tested whether this capture of attention by new motion is entirely stimulus driven, or whether it is contingent on an observer's goals. Participants monitored a visual display for a colour change, inducing an attentional control set (ACS) for colour. Across the three performed experiments, irrelevant new-motion cues always captured visual spatial attention, despite the ACS for colour. This persistence of the attentional cueing effect demonstrates that ACSs, in particular an ACS for colour, cannot prevent new motion from capturing attention. Unlike other stimulus types, such as luminance changes, colour singletons, and new objects, new motion may always capture attention regardless of an observer's goals. This conclusion entails that new motion is an important determinant of when, and to where, visual spatial attention is deployed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Attention capture
  • Attention control
  • Attentional control settings
  • Motion onset
  • New motion

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