Visual marking and change detection
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The preview benefit from prior exposure of response-irrelevant (distracter) objects in visual search has been accounted for in terms of top-down inhibition (i.e. visual marking), bottom-up abrupt onset capture, or asynchrony-dependent perceptual segregation. We assess the relative contribution of abrupt onset and visual marking in a paradigm combining visual search with a visual working memory task. We investigated time-based selection of multiple objects for storage in visual working memory, using a change detection paradigm (Luck and Vogel in Nature 390:279–281, 1997) with distracter preview. We varied preview exposure (short vs. long), in a series of three experiments. The contribution of asynchrony-related perceptual segregation was assessed across experiments by varying the complexity of the stimuli (colored squares, oriented bars and oriented T-shapes) and the type of change detection (color or orientation), resulting in different levels of perceptual segregation between visual elements. The results suggest that bottom-up abrupt onset, visual marking and perceptual segregation factors co-operate in time-based selection for storage in visual working memory.
KeywordsVisual marking Visual working memory Visual attention Change detection
We would like to thank Dave Barton, at the University of Sunderland, for his support in programming, and Valerie Bonnardel, Andrey Nikolaev and Michael Ziessler, for helpful comments on the manuscript. We would also like to thank Danny Dukes and Rachel Stalker for contribution in data collection and analysis. Finally, we would like to thank Michael Posner and two anonymous referees for important remarks and suggestions to improve the manuscript.
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