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Target and nontarget grouping in visual search.
Perception and Psychophysics, 57, 117-120
Year of publication:
Results recently reported by Driver, McLeod, and Dienes (1992) are used to contrast three accounts of visual search - in particular, their mechanism for easy conjunction search. In the Driver et al. study, the target was defined by a conjunction of form and movement; the key manipulation was phase in both target and nontarget motion sets. Mechanisms working separately on each display element (inhibition from nontarget features, facilitation from target features) are unable to explain large effects of phase, since this is defined only by relationships between one element and another. As implemented in the guided search model of Cave and Wolfe (1990), local suppression between similar elements is also unable to account for the results. More promising is an approach based on perceptual grouping. Elements moving in phase can be selected (target motion) or rejected (nontarget motion) as a group. Rather than a bias against elements that are similar to or grouped with their neighbours, there is a bias to treat grouped elements together.