We carried out three experiments to investigate detection performance in pop-out tasks and analysed how performance varied as a function of display size (number of elements) and retinal eccentricity of the target. Results showed that when display size was increased from 2 to 81 elements performance first decreased and then increased (replicating Sagi and Julesz, 1987 Spatial Vision 2 39-49). Performance variations differed as a function of eccentricity and often were more pronounced in the periphery than in the foveal area. This retinal-eccentricity influence suggests that processes underlying detection performance in small display sizes are different from those in large display sizes. One should be careful when using the variation of display size as an instrument to analyse visual-search processes because this analysis could be based on a comparison between non-equivalent conditions.