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Using the Dual-Target Cost to Explore the Nature of Search Target Representations

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JEPHPP Volume 38, Number 1, ISSN 0096-1523


Eye movements were monitored to examine search efficiency and infer how color is mentally represented to guide search for multiple targets. Observers located a single color target very efficiently by fixating colors similar to the target. However, simultaneous search for 2 colors produced a dual-target cost. In addition, as the similarity between the 2 target colors decreased, search efficiency suffered, resulting in more fixations on colors dissimilar to both target colors, which we describe as a "split-target cost." The patterns of fixations provide evidence to the type of mental representations guiding search. When the 2 targets are dissimilar, they are apparently encoded as separate and discrete representations. The fixation patterns for more similar targets can be explained with either 2 discrete target representations or a single, unitary range containing the target colors as well as the colors between them in color space. (Contains 8 figures, 1 footnote and 4 tables.)


Stroud, M.J., Menneer, T., Cave, K.R. & Donnelly, N. (2012). Using the Dual-Target Cost to Explore the Nature of Search Target Representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38(1), 113-122. Retrieved February 23, 2020 from .

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