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Visual Search: How Do We Find What We Are Looking For?

Authors
  • Wolfe, Jeremy M.
Type
Published Article
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Sep 15, 2020
Volume
6
Pages
539–562
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-vision-091718-015048
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
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Abstract

In visual search tasks, observers look for targets among distractors. In the lab, this often takes the form of multiple searches for a simple shape that may or may not be present among other items scattered at random on a computer screen (e.g., Find a red T among other letters that are either black or red.). In the real world, observers may search for multiple classes of target in complex scenes that occur only once (e.g., As I emerge from the subway, can I find lunch, my friend, and a street sign in the scene before me?). This article reviews work on how search is guided intelligently. I ask how serial and parallel processes collaborate in visual search, describe the distinction between search templates in working memory and target templates in long-term memory, and consider how searches are terminated.

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