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We used signal detection analysis to examine the effects of stored color-form knowledge on visual search. Across four experiments, we showed robust effects of stored color-form knowledge on perceptual sensitivity, whereas the effects on response criteria varied. The effects on perceptual sensitivity were stronger when multiple items were present and when the color fell on the surface of the object. The benefit was found even when the correctly colored target had a low probability of occurrence in the experiment. In addition, the benefit was present across different display sizes, and the effects of increasing the exposure duration on detecting correctly colored targets were equal across different sizes of the display. The data suggest that color-form conjunctions are detected efficiently to activate stored color-form knowledge, and that this knowledge then influences early perceptual processing in a bottom-up manner. We discuss the implications for understanding the coding of conjunctive relations.

Original publication




Journal article


Atten Percept Psychophys

Publication Date





1223 - 1238


Adolescent, Adult, Color Perception, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Young Adult