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Parallel distractor rejection as a binding mechanism in search

Dent, Kevin; Allen, Harriet A.; Braithwaite, Jason J.; Humphreys, Glyn W.


Kevin Dent

Harriet A. Allen

Jason J. Braithwaite

Glyn W. Humphreys


The relatively common experimental visual search task of finding a red X amongst red O’s and green X’s (conjunction search) presents the visual system with a binding problem. Illusory conjunctions (ICs) of features across objects must be avoided and only features present in the same object bound together. Correct binding into unique objects by the visual system may be promoted, and ICs minimized, by inhibiting the locations of distractors possessing non-target features (e.g., Treisman and Sato, 1990). Such parallel rejection of interfering distractors leaves the target as the only item competing for selection; thus solving the binding problem. In the present article we explore the theoretical and empirical basis of this process of active distractor inhibition in search. Specific experiments that provide strong evidence for a process of active distractor inhibition in search are highlighted. In the final part of the article we consider how distractor inhibition, as defined here, may be realized at a neurophysiological level (Treisman and Sato, 1990).

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 9, 2012
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 278
Institution Citation Dent, K., Allen, H. A., Braithwaite, J. J., & Humphreys, G. W. (2012). Parallel distractor rejection as a binding mechanism in search. Frontiers in Psychology, 3(278), doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00278
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Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


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