Distractor eccentricity and its effects on selective attention
Previous research has shown conflicting results regarding the effect of distractor eccentricity on selective attention. The present study examines the relationship between a distractor’s retinal location and participants’ response latencies to a target while holding constant the distribution of attention. In three experiments, the participants searched for a target among several distractors. The retinal location of the critical distractor was manipulated so that it was at either a central or a peripheral location. The results show that all else being equal, an incompatible distractor causes more interference at a peripheral location than at a central location. This distractor eccentricity effect suggests that the visual system can overcome the default bias in the distribution of attention that favors a central stimulus.