Reinstating object-based attention under positional certainty: The importance of subjective parsing
Previous studies have shown that interference from flanking abstractors can be modulated by the object organization of the scene. The experiments reported here test for object-based attention under conditions of positional certainty, which allow a narrow focus of attention to the target. Prior research has suggested that object-based attention does not arise in these circumstances, but the experiments presented here show that object-based attention can still appear if previous experience with the stimuli leads participants to interpret the stimulus pattern as two separate objects. Two control experiments demonstrate that the appearance of object-based attention is not due simply to a widening of the focus of spatial attention. The presence of object-based attention in such a focused-attention task argues against Shomstein and Yantis's (2002) proposed explanation of object-based attention based on priority in the order of visual search.