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Justin A. Junge, Marvin M. Chun, Brian J. Scholl; Primacy effects in contextual cueing. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):1089. doi: 10.1167/6.6.1089.
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© 2015 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Over repeated exposure to particular visual search displays, subjects are able to implicitly extract regularities that then make search more efficient — a phenomenon known as contextual cueing (Chun & Jiang, 1998). Here we explore how the learning involved in contextual cueing is formed, maintained, and updated over training. Implicit learning could be rigid after initial formation, predicting a primacy effect biased toward early evidence. Alternatively, learning could be constantly updated, yielding a recency effect biased toward recent evidence. A third possibility is that the input could be averaged cumulatively, yielding no order effects. During training, subjects were exposed to 18 blocks of (24) predictive context displays, where distractor locations were perfectly correlated with the target location, and also 6 blocks of non-predictive context displays, where the very same contexts were not correlated with particular target locations. Subjects who received the predictive blocks first (followed by the non-predictive blocks) showed robust contextual cueing at a later test. However, no contextual cueing was observed in a different group of subjects who received non-predictive blocks first (followed by the predictive blocks). Since the overall exposure to predictive and non-predictive displays was identical for both groups, the significant difference at test is evidence for a primacy effect in contextual cueing. This links contextual cueing to primacy effects in classical conditioning, high-level causal reasoning (Denis & Ahn, 2001), and temporal visual statistical learning (Catena, Scholl, Isola, & Turk-Browne, under review).
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