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Prior knowledge of category size impacts visual search.

08:00 EDT 30th March 2018 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Prior knowledge of category size impacts visual search."

Prior research has shown that category search can be similar to one-item search (as measured by the N2pc ERP marker of attentional selection) for highly familiar, smaller categories (e.g., letters and numbers) because the finite set of items in a category can be grouped into one unit to guide search. Other studies have shown that larger, more broadly defined categories (e.g., healthy food) also can elicit N2pc components during category search, but the amplitude of these components is typically attenuated. Two experiments investigated whether the perceived size of a familiar category impacts category and exemplar search. We presented participants with 16 familiar company logos: 8 from a smaller category (social media companies) and 8 from a larger category (entertainment/recreation manufacturing companies). The ERP results from Experiment 1 revealed that, in a two-item search array, search was more efficient for the smaller category of logos compared to the larger category. In a four-item search array (Experiment 2), where two of the four items were placeholders, search was largely similar between the category types, but there was more attentional capture by nontarget members from the same category as the target for smaller rather than larger categories. These results support a growing literature on how prior knowledge of categories affects attentional selection and capture during visual search. We discuss the implications of these findings in relation to assessing cognitive abilities across the lifespan, given that prior knowledge typically increases with age.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Psychophysiology
ISSN: 1540-5958
Pages: e13075

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