Strategic visual imagery and automatic priming effects in pop-out visual search.
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Priming of Pop-out (PoP) is defined by faster responses in singleton search when the target repeats across trials than when it switches. In a recent study, it was shown that the PoP effect can be reversed using visual imagery (Cochrane, Nwabuike, Thomson, & Milliken, 2018). The goal of the current study was to pinpoint the procedural constraints necessary to observe the imagery-induced reversal of PoP. Across four experiments the reversal of the PoP effect (i) depended critically on the response-stimulus interval between trials, (ii) was remarkably stable across long experimental sessions, (iii) was observed within trial-pairs when participants engaged in visual imagery, but not between trial-pairs when participants did not, and (iv) appeared to be more robust with self-paced trial-pairs than with a long continuous run of trials. Together, these results offer strong confirmation of the idea that self-generated visual imagery can produce robust reversals of the PoP effect.
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