Learning of association between a context and multiple possible target locations in a contextual cueing paradigm
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Searching for a target is faster in a repeated context compared to a new context, possibly because the learned contextual information guides visual attention to the target location (attentional guidance). Previous studies showed that switching the target location following learning, or having the target appear in one of multiple possible locations during learning, fails to produce search facilitation in repeated contexts. In this study, we re-examined whether the learning of an association between a distractor configuration context and a target is limited to one-to-one context-target associations. Visual search response times were facilitated even when a repeated context was associated with one of four possible target locations, provided the target locations were also shared by other repeated distractor contexts. These results suggest that contextual cueing may involve mechanisms other than attentional guidance by one-to-one context-target associations.
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