Three experiments were conducted to examine the interaction of top-down and bottom-up influences on visual search. More specifically, we examined the extent to which stimulus-driven capture of attention by abrupt onset distractors would disrupt the acquisition and expression of memory-based guidance of attention as exemplified by the contextual cueing effect (Chun & Jiang, 1998, 1999). In Experiment 1 onset distractors were introduced at the beginning of practice on the search task. Results indicated that onset distractors and repeated distractor patterns had independent and opposing influences on the efficiency of search. Experiment 2 ruled out an alternative hypothesis concerning the capture of attention by abrupt onsets. In Experiment 3, abrupt onset distractors were introduced following several hundred trials of practice with repeated and new distractor patterns in visual search. In this case contextual cueing observed in the repeated distractor configuration condition partially suppressed the detrimental influence of the abrupt onset distractors on search performance. These data are discussed in terms of the interaction of top-down and bottom-up influences on visual search.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology