Non-spatial context-driven search

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Contexts that predict characteristics of search targets can guide attention by triggering attentional control settings for the characteristics. However, this context-driven search has most commonly been found in the spatial dimension. The present study explored the context-driven search when shape contexts predict the color of targets: non-spatial context-driven search. It has been demonstrated that context-driven search requires cognitive resources, and evidence of non-spatial context-driven search is found when there is an increase in cognitive resources for the shape/color associations. Thus, the scarcity of evidence for non-spatial context-driven search is potentially because the context-driven search requires more cognitive resources for shape/color associations than for spatial/spatial associations. In the current study, we violated a previously 100% consistent shape/color association with two mismatch trials to encourage allocation of cognitive resources to the shape/color association. Three experiments showed that the shape-predicted color cues captured attention more than the non-predicted color cues, indicating that shape contexts triggered attentional control settings for a color predicted by the contexts. Furthermore, the shape contexts guided attention to the predicted color only after the two mismatch trials, suggesting that expression of the non-spatial context-driven search may require cognitive resources more than the spatial context-driven search.

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Attention, perception & psychophysics

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