Feature intertrial priming biases attentional priority: Evidence from the capture-probe paradigm

Benedikt Emanuel Wirth, Aniruddha Ramgir, Dominique Lamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior experience has a strong impact on search performance, and most recent models of attention incorporate selection history as an important source of attentional guidance. Here, we focused on feature intertrial priming, a robust effect showing that responses to a singleton target are considerably faster when its unique feature repeats versus changes across successive trials. Previous studies showed that such target repetition does not reliably reduce the interference exerted by a salient distractor. This finding has been taken to indicate that target repetition does not enhance the target's competitive edge relative to the salient distractor. Therefore, it challenges the notion that intertrial priming modulates attentional priority. Here, we suggest that this inference may be misguided because the interpretation of distractor interference as a measure of the attentional priority of the salient distractor relative to the target is incorrect. To obtain a more direct measure of the impact of feature intertrial priming on the target's priority relative to a salient distractor and nontargets, we used the capture-probe paradigm. Across two experiments, probe reports from the target location increased at the expense of the salient distractor and nontarget locations when the target feature repeated versus changed, whereas distractor interference was unaffected. These findings show that feature intertrial repetition influences attentional priority. They also clearly illustrate that distractor interference indexes the priority of the salient distractor relative to the nontarget it replaces, not relative to the target-a reinterpretation that has important implications for the field of attentional capture. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1157
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Feature intertrial priming biases attentional priority: Evidence from the capture-probe paradigm'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this