Flexible target representations underlie repetition priming in visual search

Jennifer Mcbride, Jennifer McBride, Ute Leonards, Iain Gilchrist

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Repeating target features across consecutive visual search trials can influence response time. Three experiments are reported that show that this repetition priming is dependent on the exact stimulus configuration and feature type. In Experiment 1 the target was defined relative to distractors by its orientation and target colour was task irrelevant. The roles played by these features were reversed in Experiment 2. Repeating target colour across trials speeded responses in both Experiments 1 and 2. Repeating orientation significantly slowed responses in Experiment 1 but had no significant effect in Experiment 2. Existing feature-based and episodic memory-based explanations of priming cannot account for these data, but instead more flexible explanations are required. Experiment 3 showed that significant positive priming results from repeating distractor-defining orientation, indicating that priming of pop-out effects previously reported in the literature may result from combined target and distractor effects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)655-678
    Number of pages23
    JournalVisual Cognition
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Colour
    • Feature Type
    • Orientation
    • Repetition priming
    • Visual search


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