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T. H. Lee, L. Itti, M. Mather, Evidence for Arousal-Biased Competition in Perceptual Learning, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 3, No. 241, pp. 1-9, Jul 2012. (Cited by 63)
Abstract: Arousal-biased competition theory predicts that arousal biases competition in favor of perceptually salient stimuli and against non-salient stimuli (Mather and Sutherland, 2011). The current study tested this hypothesis by having observers complete many trials in a visual search task in which the target either always was salient (a 55deg tilted line among 80deg distractors) or non-salient (a 55deg tilted line among 50deg distractors). Each participant completed one session in an emotional condition, in which visual search trials were preceded by negative arousing images, and one session in a non-emotional condition, in which the arousing images were replaced with neutral images (with session order counterbalanced). Test trials in which the target line had to be selected from among a set of lines with different tilts revealed that the emotional condition enhanced identification of the salient target line tilt but impaired identification of the non-salient target line tilt. Thus, arousal enhanced perceptual learning of salient stimuli but impaired perceptual learning of non-salient stimuli.
Themes: Model of Top-Down Attentional Modulation, Human Psychophysics
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