Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 1343–1350 | Cite as

Parallel, exhaustive processing underlies logarithmic search functions: Visual search with cortical magnification

  • Zhiyuan WangEmail author
  • Alejandro Lleras
  • Simona Buetti
Brief Report


Our lab recently found evidence that efficient visual search (with a fixed target) is characterized by logarithmic Reaction Time (RT) × Set Size functions whose steepness is modulated by the similarity between target and distractors. To determine whether this pattern of results was based on low-level visual factors uncontrolled by previous experiments, we minimized the possibility of crowding effects in the display, compensated for the cortical magnification factor by magnifying search items based on their eccentricity, and compared search performance on such displays to performance on displays without magnification compensation. In both cases, the RT × Set Size functions were found to be logarithmic, and the modulation of the log slopes by target–distractor similarity was replicated. Consistent with previous results in the literature, cortical magnification compensation eliminated most target eccentricity effects. We conclude that the log functions and their modulation by target–distractor similarity relations reflect a parallel exhaustive processing architecture for early vision.


Visual search Cortical magnification Eccentricity Similarity 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Daniel Simons for his suggestion on data analysis approach.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA

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