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Audrey L. Michal, Alejandro Lleras, Diane M. Beck; Relative contributions of task-relevant and task-irrelevant dimensions in priming of pop-out. Journal of Vision 2014;14(12):14. doi: 10.1167/14.12.14.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Intertrial effects such as priming of pop-out (PoP) often occur for task-irrelevant dimensions as well as task-relevant dimensions, though to a weaker extent. Here we test the hypothesis that increased priming for task-relevant dimensions is due to greater passive build-up of priming for the task-relevant dimension rather than to an active filtering of task-irrelevant dimensions; if this is the case, then we should observe a positive correlation between the magnitude of task-relevant and task-irrelevant priming. We tested this hypothesis using a pop-out search task in which the task-relevant dimension was orientation and the task-irrelevant dimension was color. We found a strong, positive association between task-relevant and task-irrelevant priming across a large group of participants (N = 100); additionally, we observed increased priming over consecutive repetitions for the task-relevant dimension, whereas task-irrelevant priming was constant across multiple repetitions. As further evidence against an active filtering account, task-irrelevant priming showed no systematic relationship with visual short-term memory capacity, which has been shown to correlate with filtering ability. Together, our results suggest that task-irrelevant dimensions are co-selected rather than filtered out during target search. Further, increased task-relevant priming may reflect an enhanced representation of the task-relevant dimension that is reinforced over consecutive repetitions.
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