Is attention spontaneously biased towards regularities? A direct replication and extension.
Date of Archiving2022
Radboud Data Repository
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PI Group Predictive Brain
SW OZ DCC SMN
SW OZ DCC CO
Key wordsspatial attention; statistical learning; implicit attention; selective attention
In this pre-registered replication study, we reassessed the spontaneous bias of attention towards task-irrelevant statistical regularities reported by Zhao, Al-Aidroos, and Turk-Browne (Psychological Science, 24(5), 667–677, 2013) using a larger sample size. We additionally extended the study to investigate the potential role of learning, doubling the duration of the experiment to determine whether the attentional bias towards regularities is reduced with continued exposure. While we could not directly replicate Zhao et al.’s central findings, our results provide a conceptual replication: we found that performance on a visual search task was better in a location containing task-irrelevant statistical regularities, supporting their conclusion that attention is spontaneously biased towards regularities in the environment. We further found that the attentional bias effect diminished with continued exposure to the regularities. We conclude that the spontaneous bias of attention towards task-irrelevant regularities may be transient, and propose that learning of the regularities may play a key role in moderating attentional selection.