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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2014, Article ID 585921, 12 pages
Research Article

Attentional Capture and Inhibition of Saccades after Irrelevant and Relevant Cues

1Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria
2MR Centre of Excellence, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Wien, Austria
3Study Group Clinical fMRI, Department of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Wien, Austria
4Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, Université Paris Descartes, 75006 Paris, France
5Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, 49069 Osnabrück, Germany

Received 17 January 2014; Accepted 20 February 2014; Published 22 April 2014

Academic Editor: Gernot Horstmann

Copyright © 2014 Heinz-Werner Priess et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Attentional capture is usually stronger for task-relevant than irrelevant stimuli, whereas irrelevant stimuli can trigger equal or even stronger amounts of inhibition than relevant stimuli. Capture and inhibition, however, are typically assessed in separate trials, leaving it open whether or not inhibition of irrelevant stimuli is a consequence of preceding attentional capture by the same stimuli or whether inhibition is the only response to these stimuli. Here, we tested the relationship between capture and inhibition in a setup allowing for estimates of the capture and inhibition based on the very same trials. We recorded saccadic inhibition after relevant and irrelevant stimuli. At the same time, we recorded the N2pc, an event-related potential, reflecting initial capture of attention. We found attentional capture not only for, relevant but importantly also for irrelevant stimuli, although the N2pc was stronger for relevant than irrelevant stimuli. In addition, inhibition of saccades was the same for relevant and irrelevant stimuli. We conclude with a discussion of the mechanisms that are responsible for these effects.