Interruption in visual search: a systematic review

Alejandro J. Cambronero-Delgadillo*, Sarah Jasmin Nachtnebel, Christof Körner, Iain D Gilchrist, Margit Höfler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Visual search, the process of trying to find a target presented among distractors, is a much-studied cognitive task. Less well-studied is the condition in which the search task is interrupted before the target is found. The consequences of such interruptions in visual search have been investigated across various disciplines, which has resulted in diverse and at times contradictory findings. The aim of this systematic review is to provide a more cohesive understanding of the effects of interruptions in visual search. For this purpose, we identified 28 studies that met our inclusion criteria. To facilitate a more organized and comprehensive analysis, we grouped the studies based on three dimensions: the search environment, the interruption aftermath, and the type of the interrupting event. While interruptions in visual search are variable and manifest differently across studies, our review provides a foundational scheme for a more cohesive understanding of the subject. This categorization serves as a starting point for exploring potential future directions, which we delineate in our conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1384441
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2024 Cambronero-Delgadillo, Nachtnebel, Körner, Gilchrist and Höfler.


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