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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2006 Jul;32(4):699-706.

Contextual cueing in naturalistic scenes: Global and local contexts.

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Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


In contextual cueing, the position of a target within a group of distractors is learned over repeated exposure to a display with reference to a few nearby items rather than to the global pattern created by the elements. The authors contrasted the role of global and local contexts for contextual cueing in naturalistic scenes. Experiment 1 showed that learned target positions transfer when local information is altered but not when global information is changed. Experiment 2 showed that scene-target covariation is learned more slowly when local, but not global, information is repeated across trials than when global but not local information is repeated. Thus, in naturalistic scenes, observers are biased to associate target locations with global contexts.

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