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Justin T. Maxfield, Westri D. Stalder, Gregory J. Zelinsky; Effects of target typicality on categorical search. Journal of Vision 2014;14(12):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.12.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The role of target typicality in a categorical visual search task was investigated by cueing observers with a target name, followed by a five-item target present/absent search array in which the target images were rated in a pretest to be high, medium, or low in typicality with respect to the basic-level target cue. Contrary to previous work, we found that search guidance was better for high-typicality targets compared to low-typicality targets, as measured by both the proportion of immediate target fixations and the time to fixate the target. Consistent with previous work, we also found an effect of typicality on target verification times, the time between target fixation and the search judgment; as target typicality decreased, verification times increased. To model these typicality effects, we trained Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifiers on the target categories, and tested these on the corresponding specific targets used in the search task. This analysis revealed significant differences in classifier confidence between the high-, medium-, and low-typicality groups, paralleling the behavioral results. Collectively, these findings suggest that target typicality broadly affects both search guidance and verification, and that differences in typicality can be predicted by distance from an SVM classification boundary.
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