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Familiarity and pop-out in visual search.

Reported that when the low-level features of targets (TAs) and distractors (DIs) are held constant, visual search performance can be strongly influenced by familiarity. Six Ss (aged 18-24 yrs) were exposed to 4 different TA-DI pairs in 4 different conditions. The response time increased steeply as a function of the number of DIs. When the same stimuli were rotated by 90 deg , they became familiar patterns and gave rise to much shallower search function. When the search was for a familiar TA among unfamiliar DIs, the slope was about 46 msec/item. When the search was for an unfamiliar TA among familiar DIs, parallel search functions were found with a slope of about 1.5 msec/item. Results show that familiarity speeds visual search and that it does so principally when the DIs, not the TAs are familiar. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)



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