Density Effects in Conjunction Search: Evidence for a Coarse Location Mechanism of Feature Integration

Asher Cohen*, Richard B. Ivry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four experiments used the visual search paradigm to examine feature integration mechanisms. Reaction time to determine the presence or absence of a conjunctive target is relatively fast and exhaustive for low-density displays. Search rate is slow and self-terminating for high-density displays. Density effects do not arise when the target is defined by a unique feature. Two mechanisms are proposed for feature integration. A fast mechanism integrates features on the basis of coarse location information coded with the initial registration of the features. This coarse location mechanism requires that display items be spaced apart. A second, slower mechanism is used when objects are clumped together. The 2-mechanism hypothesis provides a resolution to conflicting findings in the visual search and illusory-conjunction literature. A possible interpretation of the findings with a single guided search mechanism for feature integration is also discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)891-901
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes

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