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Chen and Cave (2019) showed that facilitation in visual comparison tasks that had previously been attributed to object-based attention could more directly be explained as facilitation in comparing two shapes that are configured horizontally rather than vertically. They also cued the orientation of the upcoming stimulus configuration without cuing its location and found an asymmetry: the orientation cue only enhanced performance for vertical configurations. The current study replicates the horizontal benefit in visual comparison and again demonstrates that it is independent of surrounding object boundaries. In these experiments, the cue is informative about the location of the target configuration as well as its orientation, and it enhances performance for both horizontal and vertical configurations; there is no asymmetry. Either a long or a short cue can enhance performance when it is valid. Thus, Chen and Cave’s cuing asymmetry seems to reflect unusual aspects of an attentional set for orientation that must be established without knowing the upcoming stimulus location. Taken together, these studies show that a location-specific cue enhances comparison independently of the horizontal advantage, while a location-nonspecific cue produces a different type of attentional set that does not enhance comparison in horizontal configurations.




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Visual Orienting and Conscious Perception




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