A switch in task affects priming of pop-out: evidence for the role of episodes
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Maljkovic and Nakayama (Memory & Cognition, 22(6), 655-678, 1994) demonstrated that response times decrease in a pop-out search task when target-defining features repeat from one trial to the next. This priming of pop-out (PoP) effect has been explained by some researchers as reflecting low-level modulations in attentional control settings Lee, Mozer, and Vecera (Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71(5), 1059-1071, 2009). The present experiments tested whether a shift in higher order task requirements from trial n - 1 to trial n alters PoP effects. The results of Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that a switch in task significantly modulated PoP effects when shape was the relevant pop-out dimension. Experiment 3 failed to show significant modulation of PoP as a function of task switch when the pop-out dimension was color, but the findings of Experiment 4 did show modulation of PoP for color when the relative salience of target and distractors was high. Together, the results strongly support the view that PoP effects can be sensitive to a switch in task, a result consistent with the view that PoP effects are modulated by trial-to-trial episodic integration processes.
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