Memory in visual search: Evidence from search efficiency

시각 탐색에서의 기억: 탐색 효율성에 근거한 증거

  • Published : 2005.03.01


Since human visual system has limited capacity for visual information processing, it should select goal-relevant information for further processing. There have been several studies that emphasized the possible involvement of memory in spatial shift of selective attention (Chun & Jiang, 1998, 1999; Klein, 1988; Klein & MacInnes, 1999). However, other studies suggested the inferiority of human visual memory in change detection(Rensink, O'Regan, & Clark, 1997; Simons & Levin, 1997) and in visual search(Hotowitz & Wolfe, 1998). The present study examined the involvement of memory in visual search; whether memory for the previously searched items guides selective attentional shift or not. We investigated how search works by comparing visual search performances in three different conditions; full exposure condition, partial exposure condition, and partial-to-full exposure condition. Revisiting searched items was allowed only in full exposure condition and not in either partial or partial-to-full exposure condition. The results showed that the efficiencies of attentional shift were nearly identical for all conditions. This finding implies that even in full exposure condition the participants scarcely re-examined the previously searched items. The results suggest that instant memory can be formed and used in visual search process. These results disagree with the earlier studies claiming thar visual search has no memory. We discussed the problems of the previous research paradigms and suggested some alternative accounts.