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Wiegand, Iris; Petersen, Anders; Finke, Kathrin; Bundesen, Claus; Lansner, Jon; Habekost, Thomas (10. April 2017): Behavioral and Brain Measures of Phasic Alerting Effects on Visual Attention. In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol. 11, No. 176


In the present study, we investigated effects of phasic alerting on visual attention in a partial report task, in which half of the displays were preceded by an auditory warning cue. Based on the computational Theory of Visual Attention (TVA), we estimated parameters of spatial and non-spatial aspects of visual attention and measured event-related lateralizations (ERLs) over visual processing areas. We found that the TVA parameter sensory effectiveness a, which is thought to reflect visual processing capacity, significantly increased with phasic alerting. By contrast, the distribution of visual processing resources according to task relevance and spatial position, as quantified in parameters top-down control α and spatial bias windex, was not modulated by phasic alerting. On the electrophysiological level, the latencies of ERLs in response to the task displays were reduced following the warning cue. These results suggest that phasic alerting facilitates visual processing in a general, unselective manner and that this effect originates in early stages of visual information processing.