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    Feature guidance by negative attentional templates depends on search difficulty

    Conci, M. and Deichsel, C. and Muller, Hermann and Töllner, T. (2019) Feature guidance by negative attentional templates depends on search difficulty. Visual Cognition 27 (3-4), pp. 317-326. ISSN 1350-6285.

    Conci_VC-Feature guidance by negative attentional templates depends on search difficulty.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

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    Prior knowledge about an upcoming target can bias attention and facilitate visual search performance. However, whether knowledge about distractors can likewise enhance search, biasing attention away from to-be-avoided items, is less clear. Here, we investigated whether the utilization of such attentional templates is affected by search difficulty. Results from two experiments revealed search efficiency to be reliably increased when positive cues provide information about the upcoming target (relative to neutral, baseline cues) irrespective of whether search was easy (low target-nontarget similarity) or difficult (high target-nontarget similarity). By contrast, negative cues that inform about a to-be-avoided distractor were found to facilitate performance only during difficult (but not easy) search, that is, when responses were relatively slow. This suggests that, contrary to positive target templates, negative distractor templates can be used effectively only when the search task is difficult, which provides sufficient time for processes of distractor inhibition to operate.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Attention, visual search, target template, distractor template, inhibition
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Hermann Muller
    Date Deposited: 21 May 2019 10:01
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:50


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