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Ahu Gokce, Hermann J. Müller, Thomas Geyer; Positional priming of pop-out is nested in visuospatial context. Journal of Vision 2013;13(3):32. doi: 10.1167/13.3.32.
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The present study investigated facilitatory and inhibitory positional priming using a variant of Maljkovic and Nakayama's (1996) priming of pop-out task. Here, the singleton target and the distractors could be presented in different visuospatial contexts—but identical screen locations—across trials, permitting positional priming based on individual locations to be disentangled from priming based on interitem configural relations. The results revealed both significant facilitatory priming, i.e., faster reaction times (RTs) to target presented at previous target relative to previously empty locations, and inhibitory priming, i.e., slower RTs to target at previous distractor relative to previously empty locations. However, both effects were contingent on repetitions versus changes of stimulus arrangement: While facilitation of target locations was dependent on the repetition of the exact item configuration (e.g., T-type followed by T-type stimulus arrangement), the inhibitory effect was more “tolerant,” being influenced by repetitions versus changes of the item's visuospatial category (T-type followed by Z-type pattern; cf. Garner & Clement, 1963). The results suggest that facilitatory and inhibitory priming are distinct phenomena (Finke et al., 2009) and that both effects are sensitive to subtle information about the arrangement of the display items (Geyer, Zehetleitner, & Müller, 2010). The results are discussed with respect to the stage(s) of visual pop-out search that are influenced by positional priming.
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