Perceptual distinctiveness produces long-lasting priming of pop-out
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Maljkovic and Nakayama (1994) demonstrated memory influences in singleton search from one trial to the next, an effect they termed priming of pop-out (PoP). This effect was described as resulting from the persistence of an implicit memory trace, the influence of which could be observed for around five to eight subsequent trials. The seemingly short-lived nature of this priming effect has been attributed to decay of the underlying memory representation that occurs when attention is directed to intervening search items, even when such items are perceptually dissimilar from the search trials upon which PoP is measured (Maljkovic & Nakayama, 2000). The present study reexamines the role of perceptual similarity as a mechanism of interference by examining the influence on PoP of rare search trials that were perceptually distinct with respect to the other, common trials. Long-lasting (n - 16) PoP was observed for rare trials that were composed of distinct target/distractor colors, suggesting that PoP can be observed across at least twice as many trials as has previously been reported. Thus, the time span across which PoP can be measured depends heavily on the nature of the intervening search displays, a result that must be accommodated by current theoretical accounts of PoP.
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