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ERIC Number: EJ991055
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 78
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Determining the Capacity of Time-Based Selection
Watson, Derrick G.; Kunar, Melina A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v38 n2 p350-366 Apr 2012
In visual search, a set of distractor items can be suppressed from future selection if they are presented (previewed) before a second set of search items arrive. This "visual marking" mechanism provides a top-down way of prioritizing the selection of new stimuli, at the expense of old stimuli already in the field (Watson & Humphreys, 1997). Typically, this "preview benefit" has been examined by measuring the efficiency of detecting a target item contained within a newly presented set. Such work has led to the suggestion that the capacity of the visual marking mechanism is extremely high. Here we present five experiments which measured performance for selecting and responding to all the new stimuli rather than a single target item within the new set. The findings illustrate that when selecting and responding to all new items intentionally trying to prioritize new stimuli has a capacity limit of approximately six to seven items and that this limit depends partly on properties of the stimuli. The findings are discussed in terms of mechanisms of time-based selection, attentional capacity limits, and the task demands of multiple item selection. (Contains 5 footnotes and 6 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Coventry)