Spatiotemporal competition and task-relevance shape the spatial distribution of emotional interference during rapid visual processing: Evidence from gaze-contingent eye-tracking

Briana L. Kennedy, Daniel Pearson, David J. Sutton, Tom Beesley, Steven B. Most

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

People’s ability to perceive rapidly presented targets can be disrupted both by voluntary encoding of a preceding target and by spontaneous attention to salient distractors. Distinctions between these sources of interference can be found when people search for a target in multiple rapid streams instead of a single stream: voluntary encoding of a preceding target often elicits subsequent perceptual lapses across the visual field, whereas spontaneous attention to emotionally salient distractors appears to elicit a spatially localized lapse, giving rise to a theoretical account suggesting that emotional distractors and subsequent targets compete spatiotemporally during rapid serial visual processing. We used gaze-contingent eye-tracking to probe the roles of spatiotemporal competition and memory encoding on the spatial distribution of interference caused by emotional distractors, while also ruling out the role of eye-gaze in driving differences in spatial distribution. Spontaneous target perception impairments caused by emotional distractors were localized to the distractor location regardless of where participants fixated. But when emotional distractors were task-relevant, perceptual lapses occurred across both streams while remaining strongest at the distractor location. These results suggest that spatiotemporal competition and memory encoding reflect a dual-route impact of emotional stimuli on target perception during rapid visual processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-438
Number of pages13
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume80
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

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