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Global Statistical Learning in a Visual Search Task


JEPHPP Volume 38, Number 1, ISSN 0096-1523


Locating a target in a visual search task is facilitated when the target location is repeated on successive trials. Global statistical properties also influence visual search, but have often been confounded with local regularities (i.e., target location repetition). In two experiments, target locations were not repeated for four successive trials, but with a target location bias (i.e., the target appeared on one half of the display twice as often as the other). Participants quickly learned to make more first saccades to the side more likely to contain the target. With item-by-item search first saccades to the target were at chance. With a distributed search strategy first saccades to a target located on the biased side increased above chance. The results confirm that visual search behavior is sensitive to simple global statistics in the absence of trial-to-trial target location repetitions. (Contains 2 figures, 1 table and 3 footnotes.)


Jones, J.L. & Kaschak, M.P. (2012). Global Statistical Learning in a Visual Search Task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38(1), 152-160. Retrieved December 4, 2020 from .

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