Abstract

In dynamically changing environments, spatial attention is not equally distributed across the visual field. For instance, when two streams of stimuli are presented left and right, the second target (T2) is better identified in the left visual field (LVF) than in the right visual field (RVF). Recently, it has been shown that this bias is related to weaker stimulus-driven orienting of attention toward the RVF: The RVF disadvantage was reduced with salient task-irrelevant valid cues and increased with invalid cues. Here we studied if also endogenous orienting of attention may compensate for this unequal distribution of stimulus-driven attention. Explicit information was provided about the location of T1 and T2. Effectiveness of the cue manipulation was confirmed by EEG measures: decreasing alpha power before stream onset with informative cues, earlier latencies of potentials evoked by T1-preceding distractors at the right than at the left hemisphere when T1 was cued left, and decreasing T1- and T2-evoked N2pc amplitudes with informative cues. Importantly, informative cues reduced (though did not completely abolish) the LVF advantage, indicated by improved identification of right T2, and reflected by earlier N2pc latency evoked by right T2 and larger decrease in alpha power after cues indicating right T2. Overall, these results suggest that endogenously driven attention facilitates stimulus-driven orienting of attention toward the RVF, thereby partially overcoming the basic LVF bias in spatial attention.

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