The requirement to orient attention in space and time usually occurs simultaneously. Previous reports were indecisive regarding possible interactions between temporal and spatial orienting. The present study examined whether temporal and spatial orienting can operate simultaneously and independently in the framework of a detection task. Participants completed three consecutive target detection tasks: in the first two tasks a central cue provided predictive information regarding either the temporal delay of the target or its spatial location. In a third task the temporal and spatial cues from the first two tasks were combined into a single cue. Temporal and spatial information provided by the combined cue could be valid or invalid for each type of information separately. Results from the combined temporal-spatial task revealed that at a short cue-to-target interval temporal validity effects were significant at the attended and unattended spatial locations and were not modulated by spatial validity conditions. Spatial validity effects were also significant and comparable between the valid and invalid temporal conditions. Moreover, temporal and spatial validity effects in the combined task were equivalent to those attained in the separate tasks. At a long cue-to-target delay, spatial validity effects were significant and were not modulated by temporal validity but there were no temporal validity effects. Overall, the results suggest that participants were able to extract temporal and spatial information provided by a single cue simultaneously and independently. We conclude that temporal and spatial endogenous orienting function orthogonally in a task that does not require demanding perceptual discrimination.
- Endogenous orienting
- Spatial orienting
- Temporal orienting
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)