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There is more to contextual cuing than meets the eye: Improving visual search without attentional guidance toward predictable target locations

Vadillo, MA; Giménez-Fernández, T; Beesley, T; Shanks, DR; Luque, D; (2020) There is more to contextual cuing than meets the eye: Improving visual search without attentional guidance toward predictable target locations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 10.1037/xhp0000780. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

It is usually easier to find objects in a visual scene as we gain familiarity with it. Two decades of research on contextual cuing of visual search show that repeated exposure to a search display can facilitate the detection of targets that appear at predictable locations in that display. Typical accounts for this effect attribute an essential role to learned associations between the target and other stimuli in the search display. These associations improve visual search either by driving attention toward the usual location of the target or by facilitating its recognition. Contrary to this view, we show that a robust contextual cuing effect can also be observed when repeated search displays do not allow the location of the target to be predicted. These results suggest that, in addition to the mechanisms already explored by previous research, participants learn to ignore the locations usually occupied by distractors, which in turn facilitates the detection of targets even when they appear in unpredictable locations.

Type: Article
Title: There is more to contextual cuing than meets the eye: Improving visual search without attentional guidance toward predictable target locations
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000780
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000780
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Attentional guidance; Associative learning; Contextual cuing; Distractor suppression; Visual search.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117024
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