Search performance without eye movements

  • Klein R
  • Farrell M
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Visual search performance (with sets chosen to elicit both serial and parallel search patterns) under two conditions that precluded saccades was compared to the typical situation in which visual inspection of the array is possible. In one condition, the display duration was so brief that any saccades that were executed would be too late to bring the targeted portion of the array into the fovea. In the other, the display remained present until the subject's response, but eye position was monitored and trials with shifts in fixation were excluded from analysis. The latter condition produced search latencies that were nearly identical to those with free inspection. Brief exposure, in contrast, did not produce the pattern typical of serial search, presumably because of strategies induced to deal with the rapid decay of the visual array. It is concluded that saccadic eye movements play little role in the patterns of performance used to infer serial and parallel search, and that brief exposure is not a satisfactory technique for exploring the role of saccadic eye movements in visual search.

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