Spatiotemporal object history affects the selection of task-relevant properties

D.B.B. Schreij, C.N.L. Olivers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


For stable perception, we maintain mental representations of objects across space and time. Whatinformation is linked to such a representation? In this study, we extended our work showing that the spatiotemporal history of an object affects the way the object is attended the next time it is encountered. Observers conducted a visual search for a target among multiple distractors. Either the targetlocation (Experiment 1) or the target feature (Experiment 2) could repeat from trial to trial. The entire visual search display was part of an object that could move in and out of view. Search was speeded when the target property repeated, but especially when the motion trajectory suggested that the same object had emerged. We show that this same-object benefit is tied to both the features and the spatial location of the target. It is most prominent for task-relevant features, but is weak to absent for task-irrelevant target features or for distractors carrying a salient feature. We conclude that attention uses an object-specific memory for relevant target information. Finally, we show that this object-specific memory is not affected by a change in the exterior appearance of the object, but depends on the spatiotemporal history (Experiment 3). © 2012 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-232
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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