Segmentation by depth does not always facilitate visual search

Finlayson, Nonie J., Remington, Roger W., Retell, James D. and Grove, Philip M. (2013) Segmentation by depth does not always facilitate visual search. Journal of Vision, 13 8: 1-14. doi:10.1167/13.8.11

Author Finlayson, Nonie J.
Remington, Roger W.
Retell, James D.
Grove, Philip M.
Title Segmentation by depth does not always facilitate visual search
Journal name Journal of Vision   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1534-7362
Publication date 2013-07-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1167/13.8.11
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 13
Issue 8
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Place of publication Rockville, MD, United States
Publisher Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In visual search, target detection times are relatively insensitive to set size when targets and distractors differ on a single feature dimension. Search can be confined to only those elements sharing a single feature, such as color (Egeth, Virzi, & Garbart, 1984). These findings have been taken as evidence that elementary feature dimensions support a parallel segmentation of a scene into discrete sets of items. Here we explored if relative depth (signaled by binocular disparity) could support a similar parallel segmentation by examining the effects of distributing distracting elements across two depth planes. Three important empirical findings emerged. First, when the target was a feature singleton on the target depth plane, but a conjunction search among distractors on the nontarget plane, search efficiency increased compared to a single depth plane. Second, benefits of segmentation in depth were only observed when the target depth plane was known in advance. Third, no benefit of segmentation in depth was observed when both planes required a conjunction search, even with prior knowledge of the target depth plane. Overall, the benefit of distributing the elements of a search set across two depth planes was observed only when the two planes differed both in binocular disparity and in the elementary feature composition of individual elements. We conclude that segmentation of the search array into two depth planes can facilitate visual search, but unlike color or other elementary properties, does not provide an automatic, preattentive segmentation.
Keyword 3D attention
Visual search
Stereoscopic depth
Attentional control
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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