The effects of transient attention on spatial resolution and the size of the attentional cue

Yaffa Yeshurun, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been shown that transient attention enhances spatial resolution, but is the effect of transient attention on spatial resolution modulated by the size of the attentional cue? Would a gradual increase in the size of the cue lead to a gradual decrement in spatial resolution? To test these hypotheses, we used a texture segmentation task in which performance depends on spatial resolution, and systematically manipulated the size of the attentional cue: A bar of different lengths (Experiment 1) or a frame of different sizes (Experiments 2-3) indicated the target region in a texture segmentation display. Observers indicated whether a target patch region (oriented line elements in a background of an orthogonal orientation), appearing at a range of eccentricities, was present in the first or the second interval. We replicated the attentional enhancement of spatial resolution found with small cues; attention improved performance at peripheral locations but impaired performance at central locations. However, there was no evidence of gradual resolution decrement with large cues. Transient attention enhanced spatial resolution at the attended location when it was attracted to that location by a small cue but did not affect resolution when it was attracted by a large cue. These results indicate that transient attention cannot adapt its operation on spatial resolution on the basis of the size of the attentional cue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of transient attention on spatial resolution and the size of the attentional cue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this