Spatial attention improves performance in spatial resolution tasks

Yaffa Yeshurun, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study used peripheral precueing to explore the effect of covert transient attention on performance in spatial resolution tasks. Experiments 1 (Landolt-square) and 2 ('broken-line') measured gap resolution and Experiment 3 measured vernier resolution. In all three tasks the target was presented alone in a large number of possible locations, ranging from 1.5-6°of eccentricity in the vertical or horizontal axes. The precue indicated the target location but did not convey information regarding the correct response. Performance decreased as the gap size or the vernier offset size decreased and as target eccentricity increased. Precueing improved performance in terms of RT and accuracy in all three tasks; the eccentricity effect decreased in the cued trials of the gap resolution tasks. These findings support the idea that the performance improvement at attended locations results, to some extent, from an enhanced spatial resolution at the cued location, and not just from distractor exclusion, diminished uncertainty, or decisional factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-306
Number of pages14
JournalVision Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Science Foundation (NYI Grant SBR-9528197) to MC as well as by a predoctoral Summer Fellowship from the GSAS of NYU to YY. We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their comments.


  • Covert attention
  • Gap resolution
  • Landolt-square
  • Precue
  • Spatial attention
  • Spatial resolution
  • Vernier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Ophthalmology


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