, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 425-451

A signal detection model predicts the effects of set size on visual search accuracy for feature, conjunction, triple conjunction, and disjunction displays

Abstract

Recently, quantitative models based on signal detection theory have been successfully applied to the prediction of human accuracy in visual search for a target that differs from distractors along a single attribute (feature search). The present paper extends these models for visual search accuracy to multidimensional search displays in which the target differs from the distractors along more than one feature dimension (conjunction, disjunction, and triple conjunction displays). The model assumes that each element in the display elicits a noisy representation for each of the relevant feature dimensions. The observer combines the representations across feature dimensions to obtain a single decision variable, and the stimulus with the maximum value determines the response. The model accurately predicts human experimental data on visual search accuracy in conjunctions and disjunctions of contrast and orientation. The model accounts for performance degradation without resorting to a limited-capacity spatially localized and temporally serial mechanism by which to bind information across feature dimensions.

Some of the results of this paper were presented at the Association for Research in Visual Ophthalmology 1995 and 1996 Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauterdale, Florida (Eckstein et al., 1995, 1996). This research was supported by NIH-ROl HL53455 and NASA NCC 2-1027.