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Scene memory and spatial inhibition in visual search : A neural dynamic process model and new experimental evidence.

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Tekülve, Jan 
Zibner, Stephan KU 
Lins, Jonas 
Schneegans, Sebastian 


Any object-oriented action requires that the object be first brought into the attentional foreground, often through visual search. Outside the laboratory, this would always take place in the presence of a scene representation acquired from ongoing visual exploration. The interaction of scene memory with visual search is still not completely understood. Feature integration theory (FIT) has shaped both research on visual search, emphasizing the scaling of search times with set size when searches entail feature conjunctions, and research on visual working memory through the change detection paradigm. Despite its neural motivation, there is no consistently neural process account of FIT in both its dimensions. We propose such an account that integrates (1) visual exploration and the building of scene memory, (2) the attentional detection of visual transients and the extraction of search cues, and (3) visual search itself. The model uses dynamic field theory in which networks of neural dynamic populations supporting stable activation states are coupled to generate sequences of processing steps. The neural architecture accounts for basic findings in visual search and proposes a concrete mechanism for the integration of working memory into the search process. In a behavioral experiment, we address the long-standing question of whether both the overall speed and the efficiency of visual search can be improved by scene memory. We find both effects and provide model fits of the behavioral results. In a second experiment, we show that the increase in efficiency is fragile, and trace that fragility to the resetting of spatial working memory.



Neural network modeling, Visual search, Visual working memory, Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Cues, Female, Humans, Inhibition, Psychological, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Models, Neurological, Photic Stimulation, Visual Perception, Young Adult

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Atten Percept Psychophys

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC