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Marie Shoda, Jun-ichi Nagai; Preview search and inhibition of the semantic category. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1325. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1325.
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Visual search becomes easier when half of the distracters are presented first and then the rest of stimuli are added (preview effect). Watson and Humphreys (1997) insisted that the preview effect was caused by the “visual marking” mechanism, by which the previewed stimuli were inhibited based on their location. On the other hand, Braithwaite, Humphreys and Hodsoll (2003) revealed that the amount of preview effect decreased, when target and previewed stimuli had the same color (negative carryover). From this phenomenon, it is suggested that the previewed stimuli may be inhibited based on their color and the color-based inhibition cause the negative carryover. The present study hypothesizes that when target and previewed stimuli belong to the same semantic category, the category-based inhibition will cause “semantic negative carryover.” To explore this hypothesis, we used similar method to that of Braithwaite et al. (2003) with some exceptions. The biggest change was the type of stimuli. We used line drawings whose familiarity, complexity and shape similarity were controlled. Semantic relationship was then manipulated between target and the previewed stimuli, so there were the same condition and the different condition. As a result, preview effect occurred even with line drawings. We also found that the preview search in the same condition was more difficult than in the different condition (semantic negative carryover). The results suggest that the previewed stimuli were inhibited based on their semantic category, and also that the inhibition was generalized to the semantically associated stimuli.
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