On the role of attentional inhibition and memory during visual search.
ABSTRACT Although humans have limited memory and visual processing capacity, they are capable of finding partly specified targets in complex and dynamic environments. Nowadays there is much need for such effective artificial searchers (for example in military, security and medical image processing). The way the human brain keeps track of inspected items may inspire designers of artificial systems. The role of inhibition of return (putative attentional memory) and the role of memory in visual search in general are discussed. Based on two eye movement studies we conclude that humans use a smart scanning strategy rather than explicit memory to avoid previously inspected locations. Such strategies could be useful in artificial systems that operate in environments that change frequently.
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ABSTRACT: A recent study has suggested that observers' visual explorations of the external world can proceed unimpaired when the visual environment precludes the operation of memory processes (as, for instance, when the display elements change locations every 100 ms). One theoretical limitation of this study was that distractors were the only elements that had the potential to be tagged during visual search. The present study sought to clarify the amnesic-search hypothesis by investigating whether memory processes can guide search in other contexts in which targets also have the potential to be tagged. Accordingly, the experimental conditions of the previous study were repeated using a different search task in which observers had to decide whether one target or two were present among a variable number of similar distractors. Under these search conditions, the present findings provided strong evidence that memory processes can guide visual search.Psychological Science 08/2000; 11(4):324-7. · 4.43 Impact Factor
- Nature 01/1997; · 42.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We examined the characteristics of readers' eye movements as they read sentences or short passages of text and compared the durations of eye fixations preceding two types of saccades: (a) saccades to words that were fixated on the prior fixation (return saccades) and (b) saccades in which the eyes moved about the same distance but did not land on a word fixated on the prior fixation (non-return saccades). Consistent with research from much simpler attention or oculomotor tasks, we found what could be considered an inhibition of return effect: fixations preceding return saccades were longer than those preceding non-return saccades.Vision Research 05/2003; 43(9):1027-34. · 2.38 Impact Factor