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Steven S. Shimozaki, Wade A. Schoonveld, Miguel P. Eckstein; A unified Bayesian observer analysis for set size and cueing effects on perceptual decisions and saccades. Journal of Vision 2012;12(6):27. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.6.27.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual search and cueing tasks have been employed extensively in attentional research, with each having a standard effect (visual search: set size effects, cueing: cue validity). Generally these effects have been treated with different (but often similar) attentional theories. The present study aims to consolidate cueing and set size effects within an ideal observer approach. Four observers performed a yes/no contrast discrimination of a Gaussian signal in a task combining cueing with visual search. The signal appeared in half the trials, and effective set size (M, 2 to 8) was determined by one primary precue (having 50% validity in signal present trials) and M-1 secondary precues. There were two stimulus durations: 1 second (eye movements allowed), and the first-saccade latency (in the 1 second duration condition) minus 80 milliseconds. Simulations found that an ideal observer for the perceptual yes/no decisions and the first saccadic localization decisions predicted both set size and cueing effects with a single weighting mechanism, providing a unifying account. For the human observer results, a modified ideal observer (with performance matched to human performance) fit the yes/no perceptual decisions well. For the first saccadic decisions, there was evidence of use of the primary cue, but the modified ideal observer was not a good fit, indicating a suboptimal use of the cue. We discuss possible underlying assumptions about the task that might explain the apparent suboptimal nature of saccadic decisions and the overall utility of the ideal observer for cueing and visual search studies in visual attention and saccades.
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