ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 45-55.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00045

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Rapid disengagement hypothesis and signal suppression hypothesis of visual attentional capture

ZHANG Fan1, CHEN Airui2, DONG Bo2, WANG Aijun1, ZHANG Ming1   

  1. 1Department of Psychology, Soochow University, Research Center for Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Suzhou 215123, China;
    2Department of Psychology, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, Suzhou 215009, China
  • Received:2020-04-06 Online:2021-01-15 Published:2020-11-23

Abstract: In the traditional theory of visual attentional capture, the stimulus-driven theory and goal-driven theory were argued for nearly 20 years. Later, two new hybrid models were proposed, which combined bottom-up capture and top-down control settings, called the rapid disengagement hypothesis and the signal suppression hypothesis. The main content of the rapid disengagement hypothesis is that a salient distractor can always capture attention in a bottom-up manner, but attention is immediately disengaged when the distractor does not contain target’s defining attribute. Signal suppression hypothesis posits that a salient distractor can automatically produce a bottom-up “attend-to-me” signal, but this signal can be suppressed via top-down control processes so that it does not actually capture attention. The empirical evidence of the rapid disengagement hypothesis indicated that the spatial-cuing paradigm and oculomotor disengagement paradigm were most often adopted, and participants took the singleton search strategy. The empirical evidence of the signal suppression hypothesis indicated that the additional singleton paradigm was most often adopted, and participants were forced to take the feature search strategy. In the future, more studies adopting different stimuli and experimental methods are needed to support those two hybrid models. The effects of reward and training on “attentional capture-disengagement” and “signal-suppression” should also be explored in future research.

Key words: visual attentional capture, rapid disengagement hypothesis, signal suppression hypothesis

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