In visual oddball search tasks, viewing a no-target scene (i.e., no-target selection trial) leads to the facilitation or delay of the search time for a target in a subsequent trial. Presumably, this selection failure leads to biasing attentional set and prioritizing stimulus features unseen in the no-target scene. We observed attention-related ERP components and tracked the course of attentional biasing as a function of trial history. Participants were instructed to identify color oddballs (i.e., targets) shown in varied trial sequences. The number of no-target scenes preceding a target scene was increased from zero to two to reinforce attentional biasing, and colors presented in two successive no-target scenes were repeated or changed to systematically bias attention to specific colors. For the no-target scenes, the presentation of a second no-target scene resulted in an early selection of, and sustained attention to, the changed colors (mirrored in the frontal selection positivity, the anterior N2, and the P3b). For the target scenes, the N2pc indicated an earlier allocation of attention to the targets with unseen or remotely seen colors. Inhibitory control of attention, shown in the anterior N2, was greatest when the target scene was followed by repeated no-target scenes with repeated colors. Finally, search times and the P3b were influenced by both color previewing and its history. The current results demonstrate that attentional biasing can occur on a trial-by-trial basis and be influenced by both feature previewing and its history.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Physiology (medical)