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Nils Bergmann, Anna Schubö; Local and global context repetitions in contextual cueing. Journal of Vision 2021;21(10):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.10.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In contextual cueing tasks, participants can use a repeating local context to learn to detect the target, yet most contextual cueing studies have relied on repeating global context properties. We examined whether observers can use local context repetitions in a similar manner as they use global context repetitions. In addition, we examined how reward-predicting context features modulate the use of local and global contexts. Participants searched through contexts in which either the entire context configuration or only a local context around the target repeated, intermixed with novel contexts. Half of the context items appeared in a color signaling either low or high reward. We found that local context repetitions led to comparable benefits in response times and fixation count as global context repetitions did. Surprisingly, reward magnitude did not affect performance in local nor in global contexts. The results suggest that a local chunk of distractors can be used for context learning and attention guidance in a similar manner as the global context configuration. We suggest that the proportion of repeated and novel context trials is crucial for context learning and that our combination of locally and globally repeating contexts provided an environment that facilitated learning in both context types because it allowed predicting the target location from the context in most of the trials.
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