When does feature search fail to protect against attentional capture?

Tashina Graves, Howard E. Egeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


When participants search for a shape (e.g., a circle) among a set of homogenous shapes (e.g., triangles) they are subject to distraction by colour singletons that are more salient than the target. However, when participants search for a shape among heterogeneous shapes, the presence of a non-target colour singleton does not slow responses to the target. Attempts have been made to explain these results from both bottom-up and top-down perspectives. What both accounts have in common is that they do not predict the occurrence of attentional capture on typical feature search displays. Here, we present a case where manipulating selection history, rather than the displays themselves, leads to attentional capture on feature search trials. The ability to map specific colours to the target and distractor appears to be what enables resistance to capture during feature search.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1098-1123
Number of pages26
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Nov 26 2015


  • Attentional capture
  • attentional control
  • feature search
  • search modes
  • selection history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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