October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Multiple Target Templates are Maintained without a Cost to Precision
Author Affiliations
  • Ryan Williams
    University of Toronto
  • Susanne Ferber
    University of Toronto
  • Jay Pratt
    University of Toronto
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 316. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.316
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      Ryan Williams, Susanne Ferber, Jay Pratt; Multiple Target Templates are Maintained without a Cost to Precision. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):316. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.316.

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

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The representational properties of target templates (i.e., the top-down biasing of target features) are set by target-distractor relationships, with target features being more narrowly represented when distractors resemble targets. Here we examined the representational properties of target templates under single- versus dual-target search. In Experiment 1, we employed a contingent capture task that required search for either a single target-defining color or two target-defining colors in either easy (low target-distractor similarity) or difficult (high target-distractor similarity) search contexts. For both single- and dual-target search, we found that attention was captured by target-similar precues (30° away from the target in 360° hue space) when targets and distractors were visually disparate (easy search). When targets and distractors were visually alike (difficult search), attention was selectively captured by target-matching precues. Thus, representations of target features are malleable by target-distractor relationships in dual-target search. In Experiment 2, we examined whether a loss of precision is observed in the representation of target features when multiple templates are prioritized, as is the case when multiple items are stored in visual working memory. We first determined a 20° difference in 360° hue space as the cut-off point between the target color and non-target color in a single-target, difficult search context. We then administered the difficult-search, contingent capture task from Experiment 1, with either a single target color or two target colors, but now included target-similar precues that were 20° away from the target color(s). As before, we found that for both single-target and dual-target search, attention was captured by target-matching precues but not by target-similar precues. Overall, these results indicate that multiple target templates can be maintained simultaneously without a cost to precision and provide evidence against the view that target templates are stored in working memory – at least when target features remain constant across time.


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