Effects of task-irrelevant grouping on visual selection in partial report

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Perceptual grouping modulates performance in attention tasks such as partial report and change detection. Specifically, grouping of search items according to a task-relevant feature improves the efficiency of visual selection. However, the role of task-irrelevant feature grouping is not clearly understood. In the present study, we investigated whether grouping of targets by a task-irrelevant feature influences performance in a partial-report task. In this task, participants must report as many target letters as possible from a briefly presented circular display. The crucial manipulation concerned the color of the elements in these trials. In the sorted-color condition, the color of the display elements was arranged according to the selection criterion, and in the unsorted-color condition, colors were randomly assigned. The distractor cost was inferred by subtracting performance in partial-report trials from performance in a control condition that had no distractors in the display. Across five experiments, we manipulated trial order, selection criterion, and exposure duration, and found that attentional selectivity was improved in sorted-color trials when the exposure duration was 200 ms and the selection criterion was luminance. This effect was accompanied by impaired selectivity in unsorted-color trials. Overall, the results suggest that the benefit of task-irrelevant color grouping of targets is contingent on the processing locus of the selection criterion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1323-1335
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

    Research areas

  • Partial report, Perceptual grouping, Selective attention

ID: 196257644