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Han-Gyeol Son, Hyung-Bum Park, Joo-Seok Hyun; Target prevalence in a search task transfers to another search task if their search items look visually similar. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):71. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.71.
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The probability of target presence can affect accuracy and speed of a visual search task, and this is known as target prevalence effect. The present study reports that target prevalence of a visual search that was once performed can influence another subsequent search with neutral target prevalence (i.e., 50%) if the search arrays are visually similar. In the experiments, participants performed two independent search tasks across trials where one had the target prevalence of 10, 50, or 90% (prevalence-search), while the other had 50% (neutral-search). In the target-mismatch condition, the target for each task differed in the target-relevant feature (e.g., different Landolt gap-openness), but the search items across the two tasks shared a target-irrelevant feature (e.g., rounded black Landolt Cs), making the search arrays look visually similar. Conversely, in the array-mismatch condition, the target for each task shared the target-relevant feature (e.g., the same Landolt gap-openness), but the search items across the two tasks differed in their target-irrelevant feature (e.g., rounded black Landolt Cs vs. angulated white Landolt Cs), making the search arrays look dissimilar. The results showed that target prevalence manipulation of the prevalence-search influenced accuracy and RTs of neutral search trials exclusively in the target-mismatch condition, indicating that target prevalence of a search task can transfer to another search task if their search items look similar. They further suggest that contextual information such as target prevalence in a daily search task can influence another search task if the tasks share objects that are visually similar rather than dissimilar.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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