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Cue-Driven Changes in Detection Strategies Reflect Trade-Offs in Strategic Efficiency

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We examined performance in a cued detection task when a peripheral cue was either 50% or 100% valid, tested in separate experiments. We combined a Posner cueing task with a double factorial manipulation of stimulus salience. Unlike previous investigations in which participants responded to either target, we employed an AND decision task in which a target-present decision required there to be a target at both locations. When the cue was 50% valid, all the participants adopted parallel exhaustive processing to detect redundant targets with unlimited to limited capacity. When the cue was 100% valid, three participants, who performed this experiment first, adopted serial exhaustive processing. By contrast, the participants who first performed the 50% validity experiment continued to adopt parallel exhaustive processing. Capacity generally declined below a lower bound, suggesting extremely limited capacity. Our conclusion is that the validity of the cue affected processing strategy but participants could increase the relative efficiency of the parallel processing with practice.

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  1. Note that the inferences regarding the multiple time bins along the SIC function based on 95% CI for SIC would result in an increase of family-wise error rate, i.e., the probability of rejecting a true null hypothesis (serial processing model). However, the current inferences were consistent with those from the Houpt and Townsend statistics.

  2. Similar to the inferences of 95% CI for SIC, we should be cautious to draw conclusions from the 95% CI for C(t).


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This work was funded by the National Science Council (NSC 102-2628-H-006-001-MY3 and 105-2410-H-006-020-MY2 to C.-T. Yang) and the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU Rising-Star Top-Notch Project Grant to C.-T. Yang) and the Australian Research Council (DP160102360 to Daniel R. Little).

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Correspondence to Cheng-Ta Yang.

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Prior to the experiment, all the participants signed an informed consent form. The ethics approval for the study was obtained from the Ethics Committee of Department of Psychology at National Cheng Kung University, and the study was conducted in accordance with the approved guidelines and regulations.

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Yang, CT., Wang, CH., Chang, TY. et al. Cue-Driven Changes in Detection Strategies Reflect Trade-Offs in Strategic Efficiency. Comput Brain Behav 2, 109–127 (2019).

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