Visual Search

Grandma, where’s Waldo? Comparing Goal-directed and Habit-based Attention in Older Adults

Visual search can be a very daunting task, whether it’s looking for keys among a pile of office supplies on a desk, or looking for a dime among a bunch of coins in your purse. It seems like no matter how many times you have checked and re-checked certain locations, the object of your affection […]

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Finding the Waldolance among sedans: Verbal cues can guide search for societally important vehicles

Quick! Find the image on the left among the images on the right in the figure below. This basic task—visual search—has been a staple of the vision scientist’s toolkit for decades. Even if one has no interest in visual search itself, the basic paradigm of searching for a target among an array of images is […]

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2 eyes, 4 targets, and 8 moving disks: Lagging gazes in object tracking

We keep track of multiple objects every day. When we drive, we need to keep track of the cyclist near the curb, the dump truck bearing down on us from behind, and the lost tourist in front of us who is signaling turns at random. When we are on the beach on a family outing, […]

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The hazard (functions) of detecting the pounce on the prey

How many things can we attend to simultaneously? Imagine being an air traffic controller and you are monitoring O’Hare arrivals on the day before Thanksgiving. How many aircraft can you attend to simultaneously? Or imagine watching a flock of grazing impalas in Krueger National Park or the Serengeti while a pride of lions is casually […]

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Opening the door to distraction: The open office effect

Better get those headphones: We can’t really ignore task-related noise Like many people, I work in an open office. Workers increasingly find themselves in open offices as companies (and universities) switch to these layouts in a bid to maximize space and reduce building costs. In my case, I work remotely but share a local co-working […]

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Creating rectangles on the fly: Attentional set and object-based effects

Attention guides human perception, memory, and action in intriguing ways. Some time ago on this blog we learned that visual search can be directed by conceptual information: Saying or reading a word such as “tomato” makes it easier to find red things. We also learned on this blog that looking at a tomato can help you touch […]

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