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Stefania Mereu, Jeffrey Zacks, Christopher Kurby, Alejandro Lleras; Prediction prevents rapid resumption from being disrupted after the target's location has changed. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1286. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1286.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Recent studies of rapid resumption (RR)-an observer's ability to quickly resume a visual search after an interruption (Lleras, Rensink and Enns, 2005)-suggest that implicit predictions underlie visual perception (see Enns and Lleras, 2008) because observers seem to construct implicit predictions about what information they expect to see after each interruption. The nature and content of a prediction (or perceptual hypothesis) can be explored by subtly changing the information to be presented after an interruption. Changes to the target's relevant features such as location and identity disrupt RR (Jungé, Brady and Chun, 2009; Lleras et al., 2005, 2007). These findings suggest that if the perceptual hypothesis about the target cannot be confirmed, processing of the display (and the target) must start anew when the display reappears, leading to slower response times. Here, we manipulated the location of the target between looks at the display to investigate whether predictable changes in location could be learned by observers and thereby incorporated into the test and confirmation of the perceptual hypothesis. Specifically, in a subset of trials (location-change trials), on each presentation of the search display targets cycled through a set of 5 predetermined locations, either in clockwork fashion (Experiment 1) or jumbled (Experiment 2) fashion, although the starting location in the sequence changed from trial to trial. On control trials, the target did not change location between presentations. Both experiments showed significant RR in the control condition. Interestingly, we obtained significant RR on location-change trials and this effect increased throughout the experiment, suggesting that sequence learning occurred and was slowly incorporated into the testing of perceptual hypotheses. These findings confirm that an interrupted visual search can be rapidly resumed even if the content of the hypothesis has changed, when the observer is given the possibility to predict the forthcoming change.
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