Separation of low-level and high-level factors in complex tasks: Visual search

Wilson S. GEISLER, Kee Lee CHOU

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Abstract

A method for assessing the role of low-level factors in complex tasks is described. The method, which involves comparing simple-discrimination performance and complex-task performance for the same stimuli, was used to assess the role of low-level factors in multiple-fixation visual search. In one experiment, the target and background were composed of line segments that differed in color, orientation, or both; in another, target and background were composed of filtered-noise textures that differed in spatial frequency, orientation, or both. Most of the variance in search time was found to be predictable from the discrimination data, suggesting that low-level factors often play a dominant role in limiting search performance. A signal-detection model is presented that demonstrates how current psychophysical models of visual discrimination might be generalized to obtain a theory that can predict search performance for a wide range of stimulus conditions. Copyright © 1995 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-378
JournalPsychological Review
Volume102
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1995

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Task Performance and Analysis
Noise
Color
Discrimination (Psychology)
Psychological Signal Detection

Citation

Geisler, W. S., & Chou, K.-L. (1995). Separation of low-level and high-level factors in complex tasks: Visual search. Psychological Review, 102(2), 356-378. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.102.2.356