Visual forms cue spatial selection

In a new work with Amar Bogadhi and Ziad Hafed we tested the hypothesis that the presentation of peripheral visual forms can contribute to spatial selection behaviors even when they are irrelevant to the task.

We asked our participants to make covert or overt orienting toward a salient visual target that was preceded by the presentation of two images in the visual periphery. One image showed a visual form, for example a clock, a bottle or a face among others, while the other showed a partially phase-scrambled visual form. Interestingly, when the location of the visual target was congruent with the location of the visual form object, we observed cueing effects similar to classic visual cues in Posner paradigms.

These findings suggest that mid-level perceptual processes associated with visual form recognition contribute to covert and overt spatial selection. Moreover, the neural circuits associated with target selection, such as the superior colliculus, may have privileged access to visual form information.

Our new preprint titled: “Task-irrelevant visual forms facilitate covert and overt spatial selection” is already available on bioRxiv here.

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