Poggel D A, Strasburger H, MacKeben M, 2007, "Cueing attention by relative motion in the periphery of the visual field" Perception 36(7) 955 – 970
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Cueing attention by relative motion in the periphery of the visual field
Dorothe A Poggel, Hans Strasburger, Manfred MacKeben
Received 25 October 2005, in revised form 21 November 2006
Abstract. Sudden changes of visual stimulation attract attention. The observer’s body motion generates retinal-flow field patterns containing information about his/her own speed and trajectory and relative motion of other objects. We investigated the effectiveness of relative motion as an attentional cue and compared it with conventional cueing by appearance of a frame in the far periphery of the visual field. In a group of ten subjects, contrast thresholds for the perception of static Gabor grating orientation [four alternative non-forced-choice (4ANFC)] task were determined at 20°, 30°, 40°, and 60° eccentricity. Subsequently, near-threshold discrimination performance of Gabor pattern orientation without versus with a ring-shaped cue was measured at the same positions. The same Gabor patterns were then presented embedded in a random-dot flow field, and uncued discrimination performance was compared with performance after presentation of a relative-motion cue (RMC), ie a small random-dot field with motion in the opposite direction of the flow field. Both the conventional ring cue and the RMC induced significantly increased discrimination performance at all test locations. With the parameters chosen for this study, the RMC was slightly less effective than the conventional cue, but its effects were somewhat more pronounced in the far periphery of the visual field. Thus, relative motion is a powerful cue to attract attention to peripheral visual objects and improves performance as effectively as a conventional ring cue. The findings have practical relevance for everyday life, in particular for tasks like driving and navigation.
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