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Attention to future actions: the influence of instructed S-R versus S-S mappings on attentional control

Helen Tibboel (UGent) , Baptist Liefooghe (UGent) and Jan De Houwer (UGent)
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Abstract
Even though there is ample evidence that planning future actions plays a role in attentional processing (e.g., Downing Visual Cognition 11:689-703, 2000; Soto et al., Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12:248-342, 2008), it is not clear to what extent planning in itself (rather than the prior experience of the planned actions) controls attention. We suggest that attention can be biased towards stimuli that are associated with instructions for tasks that will be performed in the future even if those tasks have not yet been experienced. We performed two experiments in which participants receive instructions in which some objects were associated with a response (i.e., instructed S-R objects; "Experiment 1") or a stimulus property (i.e., instructed S-S objects; "Experiment 2"), whereas control objects were not. However, before participants were required to perform the S-R task ("Experiment 1") or perform an S-S memory task ("Experiment 2"), they performed a visual probe task in which target objects and control objects served as irrelevant cues. Our results show that attention was biased towards the S-R objects (compared to control stimuli) but not to S-S objects. These findings suggest that future plans can bias attention toward specific stimuli, but only when these stimuli are associated with a specific action. We discuss these findings in light of research concerning automatic effects of instructions and theories that view attention as a selection-for-action mechanism.
Keywords
GUIDANCE, CONTINGENT, PERCEPTION, SEARCH, POP-OUT, BOTTOM-UP, FEATURE BINDING, STIMULUS DIMENSIONS, VISUAL WORKING-MEMORY, TOP-DOWN

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Tibboel, Helen, Baptist Liefooghe, and Jan De Houwer. 2016. “Attention to Future Actions: The Influence of Instructed S-R Versus S-S Mappings on Attentional Control.” Psychological Research-psychologische Forschung 80 (6): 905–911.
APA
Tibboel, H., Liefooghe, B., & De Houwer, J. (2016). Attention to future actions: the influence of instructed S-R versus S-S mappings on attentional control. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG, 80(6), 905–911.
Vancouver
1.
Tibboel H, Liefooghe B, De Houwer J. Attention to future actions: the influence of instructed S-R versus S-S mappings on attentional control. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG. 2016;80(6):905–11.
MLA
Tibboel, Helen, Baptist Liefooghe, and Jan De Houwer. “Attention to Future Actions: The Influence of Instructed S-R Versus S-S Mappings on Attentional Control.” PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG 80.6 (2016): 905–911. Print.
@article{6911991,
  abstract     = {Even though there is ample evidence that planning future actions plays a role in attentional processing (e.g., Downing Visual Cognition 11:689-703, 2000; Soto et al., Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12:248-342, 2008), it is not clear to what extent planning in itself (rather than the prior experience of the planned actions) controls attention. We suggest that attention can be biased towards stimuli that are associated with instructions for tasks that will be performed in the future even if those tasks have not yet been experienced. We performed two experiments in which participants receive instructions in which some objects were associated with a response (i.e., instructed S-R objects; {\textacutedbl}Experiment 1{\textacutedbl}) or a stimulus property (i.e., instructed S-S objects; {\textacutedbl}Experiment 2{\textacutedbl}), whereas control objects were not. However, before participants were required to perform the S-R task ({\textacutedbl}Experiment 1{\textacutedbl}) or perform an S-S memory task ({\textacutedbl}Experiment 2{\textacutedbl}), they performed a visual probe task in which target objects and control objects served as irrelevant cues. Our results show that attention was biased towards the S-R objects (compared to control stimuli) but not to S-S objects. These findings suggest that future plans can bias attention toward specific stimuli, but only when these stimuli are associated with a specific action. We discuss these findings in light of research concerning automatic effects of instructions and theories that view attention as a selection-for-action mechanism.},
  author       = {Tibboel, Helen and Liefooghe, Baptist and De Houwer, Jan},
  issn         = {0340-0727},
  journal      = {PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG},
  keyword      = {GUIDANCE,CONTINGENT,PERCEPTION,SEARCH,POP-OUT,BOTTOM-UP,FEATURE BINDING,STIMULUS DIMENSIONS,VISUAL WORKING-MEMORY,TOP-DOWN},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {905--911},
  title        = {Attention to future actions: the influence of instructed S-R versus S-S mappings on attentional control},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00426-015-0695-4},
  volume       = {80},
  year         = {2016},
}

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