June 2007
Volume 7, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2007
Inhibitory tagging in an interrupted visual search
Author Affiliations
  • Laura Thomas
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Alejandro Lleras
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Journal of Vision June 2007, Vol.7, 347. doi:10.1167/7.9.347
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      Laura Thomas, Alejandro Lleras; Inhibitory tagging in an interrupted visual search. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):347. doi: 10.1167/7.9.347.

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Abstract

Inhibition of return facilitates visual search, biasing attention away from previously examined locations (e.g., Thomas et al., in press). Prior research has shown that, as a result of inhibitory tags associated with rejected distractor items, observers are slower to detect small probes presented at these tagged locations than probes presented at locations that were unoccupied during a serial visual search task. However, this result is only consistently found when the search stimuli remain visible during the probe detection task. When the probe is presented in the absence of the search stimuli, there is no evidence of inhibitory tagging (Müller & von Mühlenen, 2000; Takeda & Yagi, 2000). Presumably, when search items are removed from a display, people do not maintain the inhibitory tags associated with these items. Using a modified version of an interrupted visual search task (Lleras, Rensink, & Enns, 2005), we show that participants can maintain inhibitory tags in the absence of the search display (during the interruptions of the search task). By alternating search displays with blank displays, we were able to bias participants to keep inhibitory tags associated with rejected distractors, even when the search display was not visible; participants were slower to detect probes presented in a location previously occupied by a distractor item than probes presented in previously unoccupied locations. These results suggest that it is the context of the visual search task that determines the presence or absence of inhibitory tagging and that inhibition of return facilitates interrupted visual search.

Thomas, L. Lleras, A. (2007). Inhibitory tagging in an interrupted visual search [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 7(9):347, 347a, http://journalofvision.org/7/9/347/, doi:10.1167/7.9.347. [CrossRef]
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