Effects of task relevance and stimulus-driven salience in feature-search mode

Dominique Lamy*, Andrew Leber, Howard E. Egeth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Attentional allocation in feature-search mode (W. F. Bacon & H. E. Egeth, 1994) is thought to be solely determined by top-down factors, with no role for stimulus-driven salience. The authors reassessed this conclusion using variants of the spatial cuing and rapid serial visual presentation paradigms developed by C. L. Folk and colleagues (C. L. Folk, R. W. Remington, & J. C. Johnston, 1992; C. L. Folk, A. B. Leber, & H. E. Egeth, 2002). They found that (a) a nonsingleton distractor that possesses the target feature produces attentional capture, (b) such capture is modulated by bottom-up salience, and (c) resistance to capture by irrelevant singletons is mediated by inhibitory processes. These results extend the role of top-down factors in search for a nonsingleton target while arguing against the notion that effects of bottom-up salience and top-down factors on attentional priority are strictly encapsulated within distinct search modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1031
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


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