Systemic effects of selection history on learned ignoring. Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite our best intentions, physically salient but entirely task-irrelevant stimuli can sometimes capture our attention. With learning, it is possible to more efficiently ignore such stimuli, although specifically how the visual system accomplishes this remains to be clarified. Using a sample of young-adult participants, we examined the time course of eye movements to targets and distractors. We replicate a reduced frequency of eye movements to the distractor when appearing in a location at which distractors are frequently encountered. This reduction was observed even for the earliest saccades, when selection tends to be most stimulus-driven. When the distractor appeared at the high-probability location, saccadic reaction time was slowed specifically for distractor-going saccades, suggesting a slowing of priority accumulation at this location. In the event that the distractor was fixated, disengagement from the distractor was also faster when it appeared in the high-probability location. Both proactive and reactive mechanisms of distractor suppression work together to minimize attentional capture by frequently encountered distractors.

published proceedings

  • Psychon Bull Rev

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, A., & Anderson, B.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Andy||Anderson, Brian

publication date

  • August 2022