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Percept Psychophys. 1992 Jun;51(6):599-606.

Perceptual selectivity for color and form.

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TNO Institute for Perception, Soesterberg, The Netherlands.


Three visual-search experiments tested whether the preattentive parallel stage can selectively guide the attentive stage to a particular known-to-be-relevant target feature. Subjects searched multielement displays for a salient green circle that had a unique form when surrounded by green nontarget squares or had a unique color when surrounded by red nontarget circles. In the distractor conditions, a salient item in the other dimension was present as well. As an extension of earlier findings (Theeuwes, 1991), the results showed that complete top-down selectivity toward a particular feature was not possible, not even after extended and consistent practice. The results reveal that selectivity depends on the relative discriminability of the stimulus dimensions: the presence of an irrelevant item with a unique color interferes with parallel search for a unique form, and vice versa.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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