Using the steady/pulsed-pedestal paradigm to study visual attention
Guenther, Benjamin Aaron
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Researchers continue to explore the relationship between different attention phenomenon and the sensory nature of the stimuli; however, this relationship is still not well understood. The steady- and pulsed-pedestal paradigm (S/PP paradigm) is a simple and flexible stimulus manipulation influencing relative processing along transient and sustained channels. The purposes of the present experiments were to first, evaluate the effectiveness of this paradigm when simple reaction time (RT) was the dependent measure, and second to further explore the relationship between transient and sustained channel activity and two common attention effects, the object advantage and inhibition of return (IOR). The S/PP paradigm produced a consistent pattern of effects across both attention paradigms with pulsed-pedestal conditions having a greater influence on RTs to invalidly cued targets. This resulted in an increased validity effect in an object-based attention experiment and decreased IOR magnitudes. Results indicated, first, the S/PP paradigm can be effectively used with RT as a dependent measure. And secondly, the S/PP paradigm (a task-irrelevant manipulation) has a different influence on attention than previously used task-relevant manipulations. Additionally, future theories and accounts for IOR and the object advantage need to be able to address the sensory influences revealed through manipulations of relative processing of transient and sustained channels.