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Focused attention distorts visual space: An attentional repulsion effect.

Attention was focused at a specific location either by a briefly flashed cue (cue-induced attention) or by a voluntary effort (voluntary attention). In both cases, briefly presented probes appeared displaced away from the focus of attention. The results showed that the effect of cue-induced attention was transient whereas the effect of voluntary attention was long lasting. The repulsion effect was most evident with brief probe durations (<200 ms). Control experiments ruled out nonattentional hypotheses based on classic figural aftereffects and apparent motion. Although a number of studies have demonstrated enhancements of visual perception at attended locations, the present studies show that focused attention can distort the encoding of nearby positions. Speculation is offered that the repulsion effect is one of the costs involved in the allocation of more resources to the focus of attention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)



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