Interaction of attention and temporal object priming

Frank Bauer*, Marius Usher, Hermann J. Müller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within a 3 × 3 matrix of 90° corner junctions, detection of a Kanizsa-type square is facilitated when the target display is preceded by a 40-Hz flickering premask of 3 × 3 crosses, with four crosses synchronously oscillating at the subsequent target location. To examine whether this 'synchrony-priming' effect is influenced by, or dependent on, visuo-spatial attention, a spatial-cueing manipulation was introduced. Observers were presented with a visual or acoustic cue which indicated the likely target quadrant. The main finding was that synchrony priming was larger for invalidly, compared with validly, cued locations, and that the priming effect was figural, rather than spatial, in nature (i.e., confined to points associated with the completed boundary, rather than extending to the inner region, defined by the synchronous premask elements). This pattern of effects argues that target processing is expedited not by attracting spatial attention to the primed location, but by the prime expediting (figure-specific) target encoding, as a result of which the target position gains a processing and selection advantage relative to non-primed locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-301
Number of pages15
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


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