September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Searching with and against each other
Author Affiliations
  • Diederick Niehorster
    The Humanities Laboratory, Lund University, Sweden
    Department of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden
  • Tim Cornelissen
    The Humanities Laboratory, Lund University, Sweden
    Scene Grammar Lab, Department of Cognitive Psychology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
  • Ignace Hooge
    Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • Kenneth Holmqvist
    The Humanities Laboratory, Lund University, Sweden
    UPSET, North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus), South Africa
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 222. doi:
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      Diederick Niehorster, Tim Cornelissen, Ignace Hooge, Kenneth Holmqvist; Searching with and against each other. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):222.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Although in real life people frequently perform visual search together, in lab experiments this social dimension is typically left out. Collaborative search with feedback about partners' gaze has been shown to be highly efficient (Brennan et al. 2008). Here we aim to replicate previous findings regarding collaborative search strategies and how they change when people compete instead. Participants were instructed to search a jittered hexagonal grid of Gabors for a target with a vertical orientation, among 24 distractors rotated -10 or 10° while being eye-tracked. Sixteen participants completed three conditions: individual, collaborative and competitive search. For collaboration and competition, searchers were paired with another searcher and shown in real-time at which element the other searcher was looking. Searchers were instructed to find the target as fast as possible and received points or a penalty depending on whether they found the correct target. When instructed to collaborate, both searchers received points or a penalty, regardless who responded. During competition, only the searcher who responded was rewarded points or penalized. Early in trials the overlap in visited hexagons between searchers remained low, indicating that searchers formed a collaboration strategy. This strategy resulted in search times that were roughly half that of individual search without an increase in errors, indicating collaboration was efficient. During competition overlap increased earlier, indicating that competing searchers divided the search space less efficiently than collaborating searchers. During competition, participants increased the rate at which they inspected the elements of the display and, despite no longer dividing the search space as efficiently as during collaboration, found targets faster than in the collaboration condition without an increase in errors. We conclude that participants can efficiently search together when provided only with information about their partner's gaze position. Competing searchers found the target even faster, but without a clear strategy.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017


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