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Familiarity does not affect the unilateral field advantage for repetition detection.

We have previously reported evidence that repetitions of letters, colors, sizes, and common motion paths are more rapidly detected when they are presented unilaterally (i.e., both in the same visual field) versus bilaterally (one element in each visual field; Butcher and Cavanagh (Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 70:714-724, 2008). Here, we report evidence that this unilateral field advantage (UFA) for repetition detection does not depend on prior experience with the elements that comprise the repetition. In Experiment 1, native English, Persian, and Japanese speakers were tested on a repetition detection task involving characters from Western, Arabic, and Japanese character sets. The character sets were tested in blocks, in each of which subjects were presented with four characters for 16 ms and asked to report whether any two of the characters were identical. The subjects were faster detecting repetitions that were presented unilaterally rather than bilaterally, and there was no interaction with stimulus familiarity. A second experiment replicated this finding with native English speakers only, using a longer stimulus duration (150 ms). We had previously proposed that the UFA arises because the low-level processes that group physically identical items operate more efficiently within than across hemifields. Our data now indicate that this grouping process is insensitive to item familiarity, supporting the claim that the process is low-level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)



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