Focused attention is not enough to activate discontinuities in lines, but scrutiny is

Consciousness and Cognition 14 (3):613-632 (2005)
We distinguish between the roles played by spatial attention and conscious intention in terms of their impact on the processing of segmentation signals, like discontinuities in lines, associated with the act of scrutinizing. We showed previously that the processing of discontinuities in lines can be activated. This is evidenced by an impairment in the detection of a gap between parallel elements when it follows a gap between collinear elements in the same location and orientation. This effect is no longer observed if attention is divided between two gaps in the first stimulus. The results from this study show that focusing attention on a gap between collinear elements is not enough to observe a modulation, consistently with the need to integrate, rather than to separate, collinear elements in usual conditions. The modulation is sensitive to the conscious expectations of subjects, suggesting that an intention can trigger modulations that spatial attention cannot
Keywords *Attention  *Cognitive Processes  *Intention  *Selective Attention  *Spatial Perception  Observation Methods
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2005.01.007
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Michael I. Posner (1994). Attention: The Mechanisms of Consciousness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Usa 91:7398-7403.

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