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Trends Cogn Sci. 2000 May;4(5):170-178.

Contextual cueing of visual attention.

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1
Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, 531 Wilson Hall, Nashville, TN 37240, USA.

Abstract

Visual context information constrains what to expect and where to look, facilitating search for and recognition of objects embedded in complex displays. This article reviews a new paradigm called contextual cueing, which presents well-defined, novel visual contexts and aims to understand how contextual information is learned and how it guides the deployment of visual attention. In addition, the contextual cueing task is well suited to the study of the neural substrate of contextual learning. For example, amnesic patients with hippocampal damage are impaired in their learning of novel contextual information, even though learning in the contextual cueing task does not appear to rely on conscious retrieval of contextual memory traces. We argue that contextual information is important because it embodies invariant properties of the visual environment such as stable spatial layout information as well as object covariation information. Sensitivity to these statistical regularities allows us to interact more effectively with the visual world.

PMID:
10782102
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