Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

We Seek New Targets During Visual Search, Not During Other Visual Behaviors

Date:
April 19, 2009
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
When we look at a scene in front of us, we need to focus on the important items and be able to ignore distracting elements. Studies have suggested that inhibition of return (in which our attention is less likely to return to objects we've already viewed) helps make visual search more efficient – when searching a scene to find an object, we have a bias toward inspecting new regions of a scene, and we avoid looking for the object in already searched areas.

When we look at a scene in front of us, we need to focus on the important items and be able to ignore distracting elements. Studies have suggested that inhibition of return (in which our attention is less likely to return to objects we've already viewed) helps make visual search more efficient – when searching a scene to find an object, we have a bias toward inspecting new regions of a scene, and we avoid looking for the object in already searched areas.

Psychologists Michael D. Dodd from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Stefan Van der Stigchel of Utrecht University, and Andrew Hollingworth from the University of Iowa examined if inhibition of return is specific for visual search or if it applies more generally in visual behavior.

The researchers tracked eye movements of volunteers as they viewed various scenes and recorded the location where the eyes were focused (i.e., fixated) at each moment. The volunteers were divided into four groups, with each group receiving different instructions for scene viewing. They were told to search the scenes for a specific target, memorize each scene, rate how pleasant the scenes were, or free-view the scenes (i.e., view the scenes however they wanted). During viewing, a target appeared in the scene, and participants shifted their eyes as quickly as possible to the target. The target either appeared in an old location (previously fixated by the eyes) or a new location (not yet fixated).

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicate that inhibition of return occurs during visual search tasks, but not during other visual tasks. That is, the volunteers in the search group were slower to shift their eyes to previously fixated locations than to new locations, consistent with earlier findings of inhibition of return. However, volunteers from the other three groups exhibited the opposite pattern of eye movements: They were faster to shift their eyes to previously fixated locations than to new locations. The authors suggest that this "facilitation of return" effect may be "the default setting of the visual system, with inhibition of return representing an exception implemented during visual search."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dodd et al. Novelty Is Not Always the Best Policy: Inhibition of Return and Facilitation of Return as a Function of Visual Task. Psychological Science, 2009; 20 (3): 333 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02294.x

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "We Seek New Targets During Visual Search, Not During Other Visual Behaviors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090414153541.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2009, April 19). We Seek New Targets During Visual Search, Not During Other Visual Behaviors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090414153541.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "We Seek New Targets During Visual Search, Not During Other Visual Behaviors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090414153541.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins