Influence of attentional capture on oculomotor control

Jan Theeuwes, Arthur F. Kramer, Sowon Hahn, David E. Irwin, Gregory J. Zelinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has shown that when searching for a color singleton, top-down control cannot prevent attentional capture by an abrupt visual onset. The present research addressed whether a task-irrelevant abrupt onset would affect eye movement behavior when searching for a color singleton. Results show that in many instances the eye moved in the direction of the task-irrelevant abrupt onset. There was evidence that top-down control could neither entirely prevent attentional capture by visual onsets nor prevent the eye from starting to move in the direction of the onset. Results suggest parallel programming of 2 saccades: 1 voluntary goal-directed eye movement toward the color singleton target and 1 stimulus-driven eye movement reflexively elicited by the abrupt onset. A neurophysiologically plausible model that can account for the current findings is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1608
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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