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Xuetao Zhang, Jie Huang, Serap Yigit-Elliott, Ruth Rosenholtz; Cube search, revisited. Journal of Vision 2015;15(3):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.3.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Observers can quickly search among shaded cubes for one lit from a unique direction. However, replace the cubes with similar 2-D patterns that do not appear to have a 3-D shape, and search difficulty increases. These results have challenged models of visual search and attention. We demonstrate that cube search displays differ from those with “equivalent” 2-D search items in terms of the informativeness of fairly low-level image statistics. This informativeness predicts peripheral discriminability of target-present from target-absent patches, which in turn predicts visual search performance, across a wide range of conditions. Comparing model performance on a number of classic search tasks, cube search does not appear unexpectedly easy. Easy cube search, per se, does not provide evidence for preattentive computation of 3-D scene properties. However, search asymmetries derived from rotating and/or flipping the cube search displays cannot be explained by the information in our current set of image statistics. This may merely suggest a need to modify the model's set of 2-D image statistics. Alternatively, it may be difficult cube search that provides evidence for preattentive computation of 3-D scene properties. By attributing 2-D luminance variations to a shaded 3-D shape, 3-D scene understanding may slow search for 2-D features of the target.
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