Inhibitory guidance in visual search: the case of movement-form conjunctions.
Dent K., Allen HA., Braithwaite JJ., Humphreys GW.
We used a probe-dot procedure to examine the roles of excitatory attentional guidance and distractor suppression in search for movement-form conjunctions. Participants in Experiment 1 completed a conjunction (moving X amongst moving Os and static Xs) and two single-feature (moving X amongst moving Os, and static X amongst static Os) conditions. "Active" participants searched for the target, whereas "passive" participants viewed the displays without responding. Subsequently, both groups located (left or right) a probe dot appearing in either an occupied or an unoccupied location. In the conjunction condition, the active group located probes presented on static distractors more slowly than probes presented on moving distractors, reversing the direction of the difference found within the passive group. This disadvantage for probes on static items was much stronger in conjunction than in single-feature search. The same pattern of results was replicated in Experiment 2, which used a go/no-go procedure. Experiment 3 extended the go/no-go procedure to the case of search for a static target and revealed increased probe localisation times as a consequence of active search, primarily for probes on moving distractor items. The results demonstrated attentional guidance by inhibition of distractors in conjunction search.