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Markus Conci, Adrian von Mühlenen; Figure-ground segmentation determines contextual learning in visual search. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):926. doi: 10.1167/9.8.926.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In visual search, invariant contextual information can provide an important cue for efficient target detection. For example, in the contextual cueing paradigm, repetitions of the spatial layout of a search display can implicitly guide attention to the target location, facilitating the detection of the target among nontargets. Here, we explored how contextual cueing is influenced by figure-ground segmentation. We conducted a series of experiments using search displays that contained a cluster of four nontarget items forming the corners of an imginary square. The results showed no contextual facilitation even though the group was predictive of the target location, whereas the baseline condition (without nontarget grouping) showed the typical contextual cueing effect. Subsequent experiments revealed that contextual cueing was preserved when targets appeared within the boundaries of the square, but not when they were outside the square boundaries. Taken together, our results suggest that figure-ground segmentation provides a framework within which the search context is acquired.
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