Is Attention Gone With the Wind: Does motion without context cue visuospatial attention?

Poster Presentation: Sunday, May 19, 2024, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, Pavilion
Session: Attention: Features, objects 2

Genna Telschow1 (), Mark Neider1; 1University of Central Florida

To account for cognitive processing delays in motion perception, visuospatial attention is shifted towards locations predicted by an object’s motion and environment. Previous research demonstrates that a rotating object touching a surface shifts attention in the direction the object would move due to friction. In two studies using an attentional cuing paradigm we investigated whether motion information, without the environment context, would cue attention towards future target locations. For both experiments participants saw a rendered animation of a flag billowing (motion direction: leftward vs rightward) and after a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) (200ms Experiment 1; 300ms Experiment 2) a letter (H/N) appeared to the left or right of the animation. Participants were asked to press a key that corresponded with the letter’s location. We predicted that response times would be faster when object motion was directed towards the letter (congruent) compared to away from the letter (incongruent). In Experiment 1 response times did not differ between congruent and incongruent trials for leftward (t47 = .655, p = .52) or rightward motion (t47 = .764, p = .45). Experiment 2 used an SOA of 300ms to determine if participants required more time to process potential predictive information from the within-object motion (non-translational motion). Again, response times did not differ between congruent and incongruent trials for leftward and rightward motion (t50 = .233, p = .82; t50 = .427, p = .67). Our results suggest that within-object motion, alone, is not predictive of future locations. This could be a result of differences in various objects’ potential for movement. A rotating wheel, like a car tire, will typically move because of friction, whereas a billowing flag is usually secured to a pole and will not move. It’s possible that motion must provide information regarding an object’s potential for movement to shift attention.