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Jason A. Droll, Craig K. Abbey, Miguel P. Eckstein; Learning cue validity through performance feedback. Journal of Vision 2009;9(2):18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.2.18.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Targets of a visual search are often not randomly positioned within a scene, but may be more likely to co-occur adjacent to other objects or background properties. Studies on target-cue co-occurrence (e.g. cue validity) suggest that observers can exploit this knowledge to increase performance in detection and localization tasks. However, little is known regarding how observers learn this co-occurrence. The present experiment sought to determine if observers were capable of learning the probability of cue validity, and determine how this learning is shaped by feedback. Separate groups of subjects performed a search task using one of three different feedback conditions providing varying degrees of information: unsupervised feedback, response reinforcement, or supervised feedback. Results show that saccadic and perceptual decisions reflect larger cueing effects as feedback information increased. This suggests that internal signals generated from response selection are insufficient for exploiting cue validity, but that reinforcement may be sufficient. However, final explicit estimates of cue validity were independent of feedback condition, suggesting that implicit behaviors are subject to unique learning constraints. Comparison to an ideal observer reveals that the rate at which participants learned cue validity was suboptimal, which may have impaired performance during initial familiarization with scene statistics.
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