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Poster A27

The attentional template is adaptively updated by learned associations

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Dengxinyi Wei1,2,3, Zhiheng Zhou1,4, Joy J. Geng1,2; 1Center for Mind and Brain, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA, 2Department of Psychology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA, 3Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA, 4College of Psychology, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

If you are going to search for a target, you must hold some representation (or “template”) of that target in memory. Most models make the implicit assumption that this search template is composed of target features. However, in complex search environments, the target is often difficult to discriminate directly. Under these conditions, it may be that attention is guided first by easier to discriminate “proxy” objects that predict the target location, but are not the target itself. Here, we tested this hypothesis using a task in which participants first learned about a face-scene category associations, and then participated in a visual search task. On each trial, a cue face followed by the target and a similar looking distractor face. The target was superimposed on an image from the associated scene category on 75% of trials. There was a clear validity effect such that RT was shorter and accuracy higher when the target appeared on an associated scene image. Multivariate pattern analysis of fMRI data showed a double dissociation between the presence of face vs. scene information in the cue vs. delay periods. The target face was decoded in FFA, SPL, and dLPFC during the cue period but not the delay period; in contrast, scene information was only decoded in PPA and IFJ during the delay period. These results demonstrate the dynamic nature of cortical engagement in the visual search process and provide novel insight into the adaptive representations within the target template that support efficient attentional guidance during visual search.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Nonspatial


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April 13–16  |  2024