Can intertrial priming account for the similarity effect in visual search?

Becker, Stefanie I., Ansorge, Ulrich and Horstmann, Gernot (2009) Can intertrial priming account for the similarity effect in visual search?. Vision Research, 49 14: 1738-1756. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2009.04.001

Author Becker, Stefanie I.
Ansorge, Ulrich
Horstmann, Gernot
Title Can intertrial priming account for the similarity effect in visual search?
Journal name Vision Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0042-6989
Publication date 2009-07
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.visres.2009.04.001
Volume 49
Issue 14
Start page 1738
End page 1756
Total pages 19
Editor D M Levi
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Sciences
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract In a visual search task, a salient distractor often elongates response times (RTs) even when it is task-irrelevant. These distraction costs are larger when the irrelevant distractor is similar than when dissimilar to the target. In the present study, we tested whether this similarity effect is mostly due to more frequent oculomotor capture by target-similar versus target-dissimilar distractors (contingent capture hypothesis), or to elongated dwell times on target-similar versus dissimilar distractors (attentional disengagement hypothesis), by measuring the eye movements of the observers during visual search. The results showed that similar distractors were both selected more frequently, and produced longer dwell times than dissimilar distractors. However, attentional capture contributed more to the similarity effect than disengagement. The results of a second experiment showed that stronger capture by similar than dissimilar distractors in part reflected intertrial priming effects: distractors which had the same colour as the target on the previous trial were selected more frequently than distractors with a different colour. These priming effects were however too small to account fully for the similarity effect. More importantly, the results indicated that allegedly stimulus-driven intertrial priming effects and allegedly top-down controlled similarity effects may be mediated by the same underlying mechanism.
Keyword Attention
Visual search
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Additional Notes First published online 7th April, 2009. Published in print July, 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 07:52:05 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of School of Psychology