Stimulus probability directs spatial attention: An enhancement of sensitivity in humans and monkeys

Vivian M. Ciaramitaro, E. Leslie Cameron, Paul Glimcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We examined whether improvements in sensory processing, defined as changes in sensitivity, could be elicited in a simple luminance discrimination task without eliciting concomitant changes in decision processing. To this end we developed a task, for use in both humans and monkeys, in which prior knowledge about where a discriminative stimulus was likely to appear (1) offered no decisional advantage in solving our task and (2) could be parametrically varied to yield a psychometric function. We found that if we parametrically varied the quality of prior knowledge, by increasing the probability, and thus the certainty, that a discriminative stimulus would appear at a particular location under these conditions, luminance discrimination improved for both human and monkey subjects. This improvement was correlated with an enhancement in sensory processing, but not with any systematic changes in decisional processing, as assessed by signal detection theory. These results suggest that (1) sensory processing and decision processing can be separated by task design and (2) systematic changes in prior knowledge about where a stimulus may appear can lead to systematic changes in sensitivity; providing a psychometric function for the influence of prior knowledge on perceptual sensitivity. Importantly, these results were obtained from both human and monkey subjects. Similar task designs could be used in physiological studies attempting to generate linking hypotheses between psychometric and neurometric functions, ultimately allowing changes in perceptual sensitivity to be linked to changes in an underlying neural substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
JournalVision Research
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Fingerprint

Haplorhini
Psychometrics
Discrimination (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Probability matching
  • Response bias
  • Sensitivity
  • Spatial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

Cite this

Stimulus probability directs spatial attention : An enhancement of sensitivity in humans and monkeys. / Ciaramitaro, Vivian M.; Cameron, E. Leslie; Glimcher, Paul.

In: Vision Research, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2001, p. 57-75.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ciaramitaro, Vivian M. ; Cameron, E. Leslie ; Glimcher, Paul. / Stimulus probability directs spatial attention : An enhancement of sensitivity in humans and monkeys. In: Vision Research. 2001 ; Vol. 41, No. 1. pp. 57-75.
@article{8ddb8fef841340e0aa548dccd0a45342,
title = "Stimulus probability directs spatial attention: An enhancement of sensitivity in humans and monkeys",
abstract = "We examined whether improvements in sensory processing, defined as changes in sensitivity, could be elicited in a simple luminance discrimination task without eliciting concomitant changes in decision processing. To this end we developed a task, for use in both humans and monkeys, in which prior knowledge about where a discriminative stimulus was likely to appear (1) offered no decisional advantage in solving our task and (2) could be parametrically varied to yield a psychometric function. We found that if we parametrically varied the quality of prior knowledge, by increasing the probability, and thus the certainty, that a discriminative stimulus would appear at a particular location under these conditions, luminance discrimination improved for both human and monkey subjects. This improvement was correlated with an enhancement in sensory processing, but not with any systematic changes in decisional processing, as assessed by signal detection theory. These results suggest that (1) sensory processing and decision processing can be separated by task design and (2) systematic changes in prior knowledge about where a stimulus may appear can lead to systematic changes in sensitivity; providing a psychometric function for the influence of prior knowledge on perceptual sensitivity. Importantly, these results were obtained from both human and monkey subjects. Similar task designs could be used in physiological studies attempting to generate linking hypotheses between psychometric and neurometric functions, ultimately allowing changes in perceptual sensitivity to be linked to changes in an underlying neural substrate.",
keywords = "Attention, Probability matching, Response bias, Sensitivity, Spatial",
author = "Ciaramitaro, {Vivian M.} and Cameron, {E. Leslie} and Paul Glimcher",
year = "2001",
doi = "10.1016/S0042-6989(00)00203-0",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "41",
pages = "57--75",
journal = "Vision Research",
issn = "0042-6989",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stimulus probability directs spatial attention

T2 - An enhancement of sensitivity in humans and monkeys

AU - Ciaramitaro, Vivian M.

AU - Cameron, E. Leslie

AU - Glimcher, Paul

PY - 2001

Y1 - 2001

N2 - We examined whether improvements in sensory processing, defined as changes in sensitivity, could be elicited in a simple luminance discrimination task without eliciting concomitant changes in decision processing. To this end we developed a task, for use in both humans and monkeys, in which prior knowledge about where a discriminative stimulus was likely to appear (1) offered no decisional advantage in solving our task and (2) could be parametrically varied to yield a psychometric function. We found that if we parametrically varied the quality of prior knowledge, by increasing the probability, and thus the certainty, that a discriminative stimulus would appear at a particular location under these conditions, luminance discrimination improved for both human and monkey subjects. This improvement was correlated with an enhancement in sensory processing, but not with any systematic changes in decisional processing, as assessed by signal detection theory. These results suggest that (1) sensory processing and decision processing can be separated by task design and (2) systematic changes in prior knowledge about where a stimulus may appear can lead to systematic changes in sensitivity; providing a psychometric function for the influence of prior knowledge on perceptual sensitivity. Importantly, these results were obtained from both human and monkey subjects. Similar task designs could be used in physiological studies attempting to generate linking hypotheses between psychometric and neurometric functions, ultimately allowing changes in perceptual sensitivity to be linked to changes in an underlying neural substrate.

AB - We examined whether improvements in sensory processing, defined as changes in sensitivity, could be elicited in a simple luminance discrimination task without eliciting concomitant changes in decision processing. To this end we developed a task, for use in both humans and monkeys, in which prior knowledge about where a discriminative stimulus was likely to appear (1) offered no decisional advantage in solving our task and (2) could be parametrically varied to yield a psychometric function. We found that if we parametrically varied the quality of prior knowledge, by increasing the probability, and thus the certainty, that a discriminative stimulus would appear at a particular location under these conditions, luminance discrimination improved for both human and monkey subjects. This improvement was correlated with an enhancement in sensory processing, but not with any systematic changes in decisional processing, as assessed by signal detection theory. These results suggest that (1) sensory processing and decision processing can be separated by task design and (2) systematic changes in prior knowledge about where a stimulus may appear can lead to systematic changes in sensitivity; providing a psychometric function for the influence of prior knowledge on perceptual sensitivity. Importantly, these results were obtained from both human and monkey subjects. Similar task designs could be used in physiological studies attempting to generate linking hypotheses between psychometric and neurometric functions, ultimately allowing changes in perceptual sensitivity to be linked to changes in an underlying neural substrate.

KW - Attention

KW - Probability matching

KW - Response bias

KW - Sensitivity

KW - Spatial

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0035054422&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0035054422&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S0042-6989(00)00203-0

DO - 10.1016/S0042-6989(00)00203-0

M3 - Article

C2 - 11163616

AN - SCOPUS:0035054422

VL - 41

SP - 57

EP - 75

JO - Vision Research

JF - Vision Research

SN - 0042-6989

IS - 1

ER -