Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 328–334 | Cite as

Attentional preparation based on temporal expectancy modulates processing at the perceptual level

  • Ángel CorreaEmail author
  • Juan LupiáñezEmail author
  • Pío Tudela
Brief Reports


Research that uses simple response time tasks and neuroimaging has emphasized that attentional preparation based on temporal expectancy modulates processing at motor levels. A novel approach was taken to study whether the temporal orienting of attention can also modulate perceptual processing. A temporal-cuing paradigm was used together with a rapid serial visual presentation procedure, in order to maximize the processing demands of perceptual analysis. Signal detection theory was applied in order to examine whether temporal orienting affects processes related to perceptual sensitivity or to response criterion (indexed byďand beta measures, respectively). If temporal orienting implies perceptual preparation, we would expect to observe an increase in perceptual sensitivity (ď) when a target appeared at expected, rather than unexpected, time intervals. Indeed, our behavioral results opened the possibility that focusing attention on time intervals not only enhances motor processing, as has been shown by previous research, but also might improve perceptual processing.


Stimulus Onset Asynchrony Rapid Serial Visual Presentation Validity Effect Motor Preparation Perceptual Sensitivity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Correa, Á., Lupiáñez, J., Milliken, B., &Tudela, P. (2004). Endogenous temporal orienting of attention in detection and discrimination tasks.Perception & Psychophysics,66, 264–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Coull, J. T., Frith, C. D., Büchel, C., &Nobre, A. C. (2000). Orienting attention in time: Behavioural and neuroanatomical distinction between exogenous and endogenous shifts.Neuropsychologia,38, 808–819.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coull, J. T., &Nobre, A. C. (1998). Where and when to pay attention: The neural systems for directing attention to spatial locations and to time intervals as revealed by both PET and fMRI.Journal of Neuroscience,18, 7426–7435.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Enns, J. T., &Di Lollo, V. (1997). Object substitution: A new form of masking in unattended visual locations.Psychological Science,8, 135–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ghose, G. M., &Maunsell, J. H. R. (2002). Attentional modulation in visual cortex depends on task timing.Nature,419, 616–620.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Green, D. M., &Swets, J. A. (1966).Signal detection theory and psychophysics. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Griffin, I. C., Miniussi, C., &Nobre, A. C. (2002). Multiple mechanisms of selective attention: Differential modulation of stimulus processing by attention to space of time.Neuropsychologia,40, 2325–2340.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hawkins, H. L., Hillyard, S. A., Luck, S. J., Mouloua, M., Downing, C. J., &Woodward, D. P. (1990). Visual attention modulates signal detectability.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,16, 802–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Luck, S. J., Hillyard, S. A., Mouloua, M., Woldorff, M. G., Clark, V. P., &Hawkins, H. L. (1994). Effects of spatial cuing on luminance detectability: Psychophysical and electrophysiological evidence for early selection.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,20, 887–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mangun, G. R. (1995). Neural mechanisms of visual selective attention.Psychophysiology,32, 4–18.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Milliken, B., Lupiáñez, J., Roberts, M., &Stevanovski, B. (2003). Orienting in space and time: Joint contributions to exogenous spatial cuing effects.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,10, 877–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Miniussi, C., Wilding, E. L., Coull, J. T., &Nobre, A. C. (1999). Orienting attention in time: Modulation of brain potentials.Brain,122, 1507–1518.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Nobre, A. C. (2001). Orienting attention to instants in time.Neuropsychologia,39, 1317–1328.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Posner, M. I., Snyder, C. R. R., &Davidson, B. J. (1980). Attention and the detection of signals.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,109, 160–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ress, D., Backus, B. T., &Heeger, D. J. (2000). Activity in primary visual cortex predicts performance in a visual detection task.Nature Neuroscience,3, 940–945.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Schneider, W. (1988). Micro Experimental Laboratory: An integrated system for IBM PC compatibles.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,20, 206–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sternberg, S. (1966). High-speed scanning in human memory.Science,153, 652–654.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Psicología Experimental y Fisiología del ComportamientoFacultad de PsicologíaGranadaSpain

Personalised recommendations