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Simulated loss of foveal vision eliminates visual search advantage in repeated displays

Simulated loss of foveal vision eliminates visual search advantage in repeated displays

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6: 134

In the contextual cueing paradigm, incidental visual learning of repeated distractor configurations leads to faster search times in repeated compared to new displays. This contextual cueing is closely linked to the visual exploration of the search arrays as indicated by fewer fixations and more efficient scan paths in repeated search arrays. Here, we examined contextual cueing under impaired visual exploration induced by a simulated central scotoma that causes the participant to rely on extrafoveal vision. We let normal-sighted participants search for the target either under unimpaired viewing conditions or with a gaze-contingent central scotoma masking the currently fixated area. Under unimpaired viewing conditions, participants revealed shorter search times and more efficient exploration of the display for repeated compared to novel search arrays and thus exhibited contextual cueing. When visual search was impaired by the central scotoma, search facilitation for repeated displays was eliminated. These results indicate that a loss of foveal sight, as it is commonly observed in maculopathies, e.g., may lead to deficits in high-level visual functions well beyond the immediate consequences of a scotoma.

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Accession: 055783222

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22593741

DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00134

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