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Review article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Volume (Issue) 3(221)
Page(s) 1 - 12
Title of proceedings Frontiers in Psychology

Abstract

Dimension-based accounts of visual search and selection have significantly contributed to the understanding of the cognitive mechanisms of attention. Extensions of the origi- nal approach assuming the existence of dimension-based feature contrast saliency signals that govern the allocation of focal attention have recently been employed to explain the spatial and temporal dynamics of the relative strengths of saliency representations. Here we review behavioral and neurophysiological findings providing evidence for the dynamic trial-by-trial weighting of feature dimensions in a variety of visual search tasks.The examina- tion of the effects of feature and dimension-based inter-trial transitions in feature detection tasks shows that search performance is affected by the change of target-defining dimen- sions, but not features. The use of the redundant-signals paradigm shows that feature contrast saliency signals are integrated at a pre-selective processing stage. The compari- son of feature detection and compound search tasks suggests that the relative significance of dimension-dependent and dimension-independent saliency representations is task- contingent. Empirical findings that explain reduced dimension-based effects in compound search tasks are discussed. Psychophysiological evidence is presented that confirms the assumption that the locus of the effects of feature dimension changes is perceptual pre- selective rather than post-selective response-based. Behavioral and psychophysiological results are considered within in the framework of the dimension weighting account of selective visual attention.
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