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The automatic orienting of attention to goal-relevant stimuli

Vogt, J., De Hower, J., Moors, A., Van Damme, S. and Crombez, G. (2010) The automatic orienting of attention to goal-relevant stimuli. Acta Psychologica, 134 (1). pp. 61-69. ISSN 0001-6918

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.12.006


It is often assumed that attention is automatically allocated to stimuli relevant to one’s actual goals. However, the existing evidence for this idea is limited in several ways. We investigated whether words relevant to a person’s current goal influence the orienting of attention even when an intention to attend to the goal-relevant stimuli is not present. In two experiments, participants performed a modified spatial cueing paradigm combined with a second task that induced a goal. The results of the experiments showed that the induced goal led to the orientation of attention to goal-relevant words in the spatial cueing task. This effect was not found for words semantically related to the goal-relevant words. The results provide evidence for motivational accounts of attention, which state that the automatic allocation of attention is guided by the current goals of a person.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:68428


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