Not all features are created equal: Processing asymmetries between location and object features

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Previous research has shown spontaneous location processing when location is not a task relevant feature and when a target is presented together with distractors. The present study investigates whether such processing can occur in the absence of distractor inhibition, and whether there is a processing asymmetry between location and an object feature. The results show that not all features are created equal. Whereas attending to an object's color or texture led to the involuntary processing of that object's location, attending to an object's location did not necessarily result in the encoding of its color or texture when these nonspatial properties were not task relevant. These results add to the body of evidence demonstrating the special role of location in attentional selection. They also provide a clearer picture of the interactions among location, object features, and participants' behavioral goals.

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