Observers can resume a previously interrupted visual search trial significantly more quickly than they can start a new search trial (Lleras, Rensink, & Enns, 2005). This rapid resumption of search is possible because evidence accumulated during the previous exposure, a perceptual hypothesis, can carry over to a subsequent presentation. We present four interrupted visual search experiments in which the content of the perceptual hypotheses used during visual search trials was characterized. These experiments suggest that prior to explicit target identification, observers have accumulated evidence about the locations, but not the identities, of local, task-relevant distractors, as well as preliminary evidence for the identity of the target. Our results characterize the content of perceptual search hypotheses and highlight the utility of interrupted search for studying online search processing prior to target identification.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Sensory Systems
- Linguistics and Language