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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2007 Dec;33(6):1335-51.

The role of spatial and nonspatial information in visual selection.

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Department of Cognitive Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Even though it is undisputed that prior information regarding the location of a target affects visual selection, the issue of whether information regarding nonspatial features, such as color and shape, has similar effects has been a matter of debate since the early 1980s. In the study described in this article, measures derived from signal detection theory were used to show that perceptual sensitivity is affected by a top-down set for spatial information but not by a top-down set for nonspatial information. This indicates that knowing where the target singleton is affects perceptual selectivity but that knowing what it is does not help selectivity. Furthermore, perceptual sensitivity can be enhanced by nonspatial features, but only through a process related to bottom-up priming. These findings have important implications for models of visual selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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