Apr 13, 2020

Neural mechanisms underlying distractor inhibition on the basis of feature and/or spatial expectations.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Dirk van MoorselaarHeleen A Slagter


A rapidly growing body of research indicates that inhibition of distracting information may not be under flexible, top-down control, but instead heavily relies on expectations derived from past experience about the likelihood of events or statistical learning. Yet, how expectations about distracting information influence distractor inhibition at the neural level remains unclear. To determine how learned expectations about distractor features and/or location modulate distractor processing, we measured EEG while participants performed two variants of the additional singleton paradigm. Critically, in these different variants target and distractor features either randomly swapped across trials, favoring stimulus-driven selection (singleton detection mode), or were fixed, allowing for goal-driven selection (feature search mode) and the development of distractor feature-based expectations. Moreover, participants performed these tasks both with and without a high probability distractor location. Our results show that both distractor feature- and location learning contributed to distractor inhibition, as indicated by corresponding reductions in distractor costs during visual search and an earlier distractor-evoked Pd ERP. Large individ...Continue Reading

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