December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Search for a fixed target or a varying target: Does the precision of the target template influence distractor location learning?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Aylin A. Hanne
    Philipps University Marburg
  • Jan Tünnermann
    Philipps University Marburg
  • Anna Schubö
    Philipps University Marburg
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This research was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation – project number 290878970-GRK 2271, project 9).
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3995. doi:
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      Aylin A. Hanne, Jan Tünnermann, Anna Schubö; Search for a fixed target or a varying target: Does the precision of the target template influence distractor location learning?. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3995.

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

  • Supplements

In visual search tasks, attentional selection is typically impaired when a salient but non-relevant distractor is presented. This attentional capture effect was found to be smaller when observers are asked to search for a target with a fixed shape compared to a varying shape, allowing the use of a precise target template. Additionally, recent research on distractor suppression has shown that observers are able to learn statistical regularities of spatial distractor features to reduce attentional capture by suppressing the location where the distractor is most likely to appear. Here, we examined whether the precision of the target template influences distractor location learning when the search environment is held constant. To that end, we implemented two online variants of the additional singleton search task in which participants were instructed to search for either a fixed target shape (i.e. a diamond) or a varying target shape (i.e. either a diamond or a circle) while the distractor features were the same between tasks. Analysis of mean response times showed distractor location learning, i.e. faster response times when the distractor was presented at its most likely location compared to another location, but no interaction effect between tasks. To further investigate the temporal course, i.e. emergence and persistence, of distractor location learning as well as the spatial distribution of suppression, hierarchical Bayesian modeling approaches were used. Modeling results revealed no differences in the estimated parameters, but showed that the response time learning curves were shifted on the y-axis between tasks. Specifically, participants with a broad target template responded more slowly. These results suggest that the precision of the target template does not influence distractor location learning, but rather general task performance.


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