When is search for a static target among dynamic distractors efficient?

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Intuitively, dynamic visual stimuli, such as moving objects or flashing lights, attract attention. Visual search tasks have revealed that dynamic targets among static distractors can indeed efficiently guide attention. The present study shows that the reverse case, a static target among dynamic distractors, allows for relatively efficient selection in certain but not all cases. A static target was relatively efficiently found among distractors that featured apparent motion, corroborating earlier findings. The important new finding was that static targets were equally easily found among distractors that blinked on and off continuously, even when each individual item blinked at a random rate. However, search for a static target was less efficient when distractors abruptly varied in luminance but did not completely disappear. The authors suggest that the division into the parvocellular pathway dealing with static visual information, on the one hand, and the magnocellular pathway common to motion and new object onset detection, on the other hand, allows for efficient filtering of dynamic and static information. Copyright 2006 by the American psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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