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When does repeated search in scenes involve memory? Looking at versus looking for objects in scenes

When does repeated search in scenes involve memory? Looking at versus looking for objects in scenes

Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance 38(1): 23-41

One might assume that familiarity with a scene or previous encounters with objects embedded in a scene would benefit subsequent search for those items. However, in a series of experiments we show that this is not the case: When participants were asked to subsequently search for multiple objects in the same scene, search performance remained essentially unchanged over the course of searches despite increasing scene familiarity. Similarly, looking at target objects during previews, which included letter search, 30 seconds of free viewing, or even 30 seconds of memorizing a scene, also did not benefit search for the same objects later on. However, when the same object was searched for again memory for the previous search was capable of producing very substantial speeding of search despite many different intervening searches. This was especially the case when the previous search engagement had been active rather than supported by a cue. While these search benefits speak to the strength of memory-guided search when the same search target is repeated, the lack of memory guidance during initial object searches-despite previous encounters with the target objects-demonstrates the dominance of guidance by generic scene knowledge in real-world search.

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Accession: 056930901

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21688939

DOI: 10.1037/a0024147

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