Phasic alerting facilitates endogenous orienting of spatial attention: Evidence from event-related lateralizations of the EEG.Atten Percept Psychophys. 2020 May; 82(4):1644-1653.AP
Alerting has been hypothesized to affect spatial orienting either by accelerating the speed of attentional shift toward the cued target location (the accelerating hypothesis) or by enhancing the orienting effect without changing its time course (the enhancing hypothesis). To investigate the neural underpinnings of the effect of phasic alerting on endogenous orienting, we recorded the electroencephalogram (EEG) in a variant of the spatial cueing task with a tone presented 100 ms before the cue as a phasic alerting signal, and calculated cue-evoked event-related lateralizations (ERLs) providing a precise assessment of preparatory visuospatial attention. Behavioral results showed that the spatial orienting effect was increased under the phasic alerting condition, as expected. The EEG results showed that an orienting-related ERL component called a late directing attention positivity (LDAP) had shorter onset latency and larger amplitude in the alerting condition than in the no-alerting (no-tone) condition. In conclusion, phasic alerting seems to both accelerate and enhance orienting-related preparatory modulations within the ventral visual stream.