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The roles of cuing and visual working memory capacity in dynamic oculomotor selection

56.430, Tuesday, 20-May, 2:45 pm - 6:45 pm, Banyan Breezeway
Session: Visual search: Eye movements

Matthew Weaver1, Davide Paoletti1, Wieske van Zoest1; 1CIMeC, University of Trento, Italy

It is accepted that goal-directed strategies can use advanced information about the properties of a search display to directly influence covert attentional selection. However, relatively little work has investigated this benefit on overt saccadic selection. The aim of the present study was to: 1) explore how the impact of advanced knowledge provided by a cue develops over time to influence oculomotor selection; and 2) examine the role played by individual differences, as reflected by visual working memory capacity (VWMc), in utilizing this cue to benefit selection performance. Participants responded to a particular line orientation target in a visual search task. Additionally, the target or an irrelevant distractor could be unique in color – creating a color singleton – or they were equally salient. Prior to each trial, color singleton identity (target, distractor, or neither) was either validly cued or not cued at all. Saccadic responses were separated into time bins to assess the timecourse of cue impact on selection accuracy. A change-detection task provided a measure of VWMc. The cue influenced dynamic oculomotor selection in three specific ways: 1) it increased accuracy performance from the earliest saccadic responses; 2) this benefit increased with later saccadic responses to target-color singletons; 3) this increasing benefit was sufficient to only reduce, and not eliminate, an overall decrease in accuracy performance over response latency. Individuals’ VWMc scores were associated with cue impact, whereby participants with higher capacity derived an increased performance benefit from the cue. These findings suggest that strategic use of cue information to select and reject salient singletons can develop very early following display presentation and is related to an individual’s VWMc. This research indicates that stimulus-driven and goal-directed processes are not simply additive in oculomotor selection, but instead exhibit a distinct and dynamic profile of interaction.

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