Schubö, A., Schröger, E., Meinecke, C., & Müller, H. J. (2007). Attentional resources and pop-out detection in search displays. Neuroreport, 18(15), 1589-1593.

Attentional resources and pop-out detection in search displays

Detecting pop-out targets is often considered as a fast, spontaneous and preattentive process. In most experimental studies, however, the observer's attention is explicitly focused on the detection task. We investigated pop-out detection under varying attention conditions: when pop-out displays were (a) not attended and not relevant, (b) attended and relevant and (c) could be attended but were not relevant. Event-related potentials were recorded for color and orientation pop-out targets and target-absent trials. When stimuli were attended, the N2pc component for color pop-outs was more pronounced than N2pc for orientation pop-outs, indicating that saliency modulated the attracting of an observer's attention. Results, however, showed no evidence for preattentive processing of pop-outs when they were not attended and not task relevant.


Cognitive and Biological Psychology

University of Leipzig
Faculty of Life Sciences
Institute of Psychology
Neumarkt 9-19
D-04109 Leipzig


Dagmar Schrödl
Phone: +49 341 97-39570
Email: dagmar dot schroedl at uni-leipzig dot de

Dorit Thieme
Phone: +49 341 97-39540
Email: d dot thieme at uni-leipzig dot de

Fax: +49 341 97-39271