Electrophysiological evidence of feature-based inhibition of focused attention across consecutive trials

Eunsam Shin, Xiaoang I. Wan, Monica Fabiani, Gabriele Gratton, Alejandro Lleras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monitoring the visual environment for targets has evolutionary and ecological significance. Exploration of the visual scene can be hypothesized to use "saliency maps" representing the priorities allocated to different locations and features, which change dynamically based on previous experience. This is supported by the observation that sequential effects influence the speed and accuracy of visual search tasks. Yet, the mechanisms underlying these effects are not well understood. Here we used electrophysiological methods to identify some of the mechanisms underlying a specific sequential effect - the distractor previewing effect (DPE). We found that the DPE is correlated with electrophysiological indices of attention allocation but not with sensory or motor components, suggesting that the DPE is related to attentional phenomena, rather than perceptual or motor levels of processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-811
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Distractor previewing effect (DPE)
  • Event-related brain potentials (ERPs)
  • Focused attention
  • Inhibition
  • N2pc
  • Sequential effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • General Neuroscience


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