Parallel, exhaustive processing underlies logarithmic search functions: Visual search with cortical magnification

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Our lab recently found evidence that efficient visual search (with a fixed target) is characterized by logarithmic Reaction Time (RT) × Set Size functions whose steepness is modulated by the similarity between target and distractors. To determine whether this pattern of results was based on low-level visual factors uncontrolled by previous experiments, we minimized the possibility of crowding effects in the display, compensated for the cortical magnification factor by magnifying search items based on their eccentricity, and compared search performance on such displays to performance on displays without magnification compensation. In both cases, the RT × Set Size functions were found to be logarithmic, and the modulation of the log slopes by target–distractor similarity was replicated. Consistent with previous results in the literature, cortical magnification compensation eliminated most target eccentricity effects. We conclude that the log functions and their modulation by target–distractor similarity relations reflect a parallel exhaustive processing architecture for early vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1343-1350
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018



  • Cortical magnification
  • Eccentricity
  • Similarity
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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