Attention capture is modulated in dual-task situations

Walter R. Boot, James R. Brockmole, Daniel J. Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Because some features affect the efficiency of visual search even when they are irrelevant to the task, they are thought to capture attention in a stimulus-driven manner. If such attention shifts are stimulus driven, they should be unaffected by reduced resources. We added a concurrent auditory task to a traditional attention capture paradigm and found that capture by an irrelevant, abruptly appearing stimulus (i.e., an onset) was eliminated. In contrast, prioritization of an irrelevant color singleton - a stimulus that at most receives only mild prioritization in this paradigm - was increased under dual-task conditions. These results challenge the hypothesis that attention capture by irrelevant features is stimulus driven. Instead, prioritization depends on and is modulated by the availability of resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-668
Number of pages7
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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