Eimer, M. (1997). Attentional selection and attentional gradients: An alternative method for studying transient visual-spatial attention. Psychophysiology, 34, 365-376.
Two experiments are reported that employed an alternative method for studying transient visual-spatial attention. Instead of using precues, attention was manipulated by presenting most stimuli sequentially at predictable locations. In Experiment 1, most stimuli appeared in a regular clockwise or counterclock-wise order, but some were separated by one or both visual meridians from the expected location. In Experiment 2, most stimuli were presented succesively along the horizontal meridian, and some stimuli were separated by one, two, or three positions from the expected location. Faster RTs and larger posterior P1 and N1 components as well as enhanced negativities at midline electrodes were found for expected location relative to unexpected location stimuli. These effects were partially modulated by the distance of unexpected stimuli from the current focus of attention, suggesting the existence of attentional gradients. Moreover, the data suggest that the direction of previous attentional shifts and the visual meridians play an important role for spatial attention.