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Sci Rep. 2011;1:80. doi: 10.1038/srep00080. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

The influence of color on snake detection in visual search in human children.

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  • 1Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Kanrin, Inuyama, Aichi, Japan.

Abstract

It is well known that adult humans detect snakes as targets more quickly than flowers as the targets and that how rapidly they detect a snake picture does not differ whether the images are in color or gray-scale, whereas they find a flower picture more rapidly when the images are in color than when the images are gray-scale. In the present study, a total of 111 children were presented with 3-by-3 matrices of images of snakes and flowers in either color or gray-scale displays. Unlike the adults reported on previously, the present participants responded to the target faster when it was in color than when it was gray-scale, whether the target was a snake or a flower, regardless of their age. When detecting snakes, human children appear to selectively attend to their color, which would contribute to the detection being more rapidly at the expense of its precision.

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