December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
The spatial and temporal characteristics of the priming of location effect: Revisiting Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996)
Author Affiliations
  • Daniel Toledano
    Tel Aviv University
  • Dominique Lamy
    Tel Aviv University
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 4127. doi:
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      Daniel Toledano, Dominique Lamy; The spatial and temporal characteristics of the priming of location effect: Revisiting Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996). Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):4127.

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

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Stimulus saliency and search goals determine which location receives our attention first. However, our past search history also has a particularly striking impact on search performance: in their seminal work, Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996) discovered that search is reliably faster if the current target happens to appear at a previous target’s location, and slower if it appears at a previous distractor’s location, relative to empty space. Furthermore, these effects, referred to as location priming, were found to decay when the spatial distance between current and past targets, as well as the temporal interval between current and previous trials, increased. Although highly influential, these experiments relied on the data of only three participants and follow-up empirical research has been relatively scarce. In the current study, we re-analyzed a recently published large-scale dataset of over 210,000 trials from 8 experiments (Adam et al., 2021), where participants searched for a shape target among nontarget shapes. Several variables were manipulated, such as display size, search strategy, salient color-distractor presence, target-color repetition and inter-trial time. Beyond replicating the basic phenomenon, our analyses generated several novel findings. First, we found location priming to be far longer-lasting than previously thought (12 trials back instead of just 5-8). Second, we disentangled the influence of passing time from the influence of intervening trials to account for the effect’s decrease over time. Third, we found task demands to strongly modulate the temporal and spatial characteristics of location priming. Finally, we show that a hitherto overlooked confound accounts for the findings attributed to inhibition of previous distractors’ locations, suggesting that target location enhancement alone underlies location priming. Taken together, these findings advance our understanding of the complex spatial and temporal dynamics of location priming.


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