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This article reports evidence that parallel search functions can occur when heterogeneous conjunction elements configure into a single object description. Experiment 1 demonstrates parallel search for form conjunctions presented in displays of heterogenous nontargets when closure and good continuation between display elements are exhibited. When closure and good continuation are absent, reaction times increase linearly with set size (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 demonstrates a halfway stage between these two extremes, in which displays have closure but not good continuation. Finally, selection of object descriptions is shown to be temporally limited to one object at a time (Experiment 4). The data are incompatible with both local feature-based and distractor similarity-based accounts of visual search; however, they are compatible with there being an important role for preattentive feature combinations forming primitive object desciptions. Parallel search functions can occur when heterogeneous conjunctions configure into a single object desciption.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance

Publication Date





561 - 570