Contingent capture for onsets and offsets: Attentional set for perceptual transients

Paul Atchley, Arthur F. Kramer, Anne P. Hillstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four experiments were conducted to examine whether attentional set affects the ability of visual transients (onsets and offsets) to capture attention. In the experiments, visual search tor an identity-defined target was conducted. In the first 3 experiments, the target display either onset entirely or was revealed by offsetting camouflaging line segments to reveal letters. Prior to the target display, there was a noninformative cue, either an onset or an offset, at one of the potential target locations. Cues that shared the same transient feature as the target display captured attention. The lack of predictable target transients led to attentional capture by all forms of transients. The final experiments with luminance changes without offsets or onsets showed attentional capture when the luminance changes were large. The results suggest that attentional set can be broadly or narrowly tuned to detect changes in luminance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-606
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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