The dynamics of learning in different visual search tasks: Psychophysics and psychophysiology

U Leonards, R Rettenbach, R Sireteanu

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstract

Abstract

Serial visual search can become parallel with practice (Sireteanu and Rettenbach, 1995 Vision Research 35 2037 - 2043). Our purpose was to examine whether psychophysiological indices reflect the changes in reaction time during training. We used targets and distractors that differed either in orientation (`tilt'), or in local brightness: closed circles with or without an additional line element (`added line'), or circles with gaps of different width (`gap'). The subjects' task was to indicate the presence or absence of a target on a computer screen by immediately pressing a button and pointing to the location of the target if the trial was positive, or raise the hand if negative. No feedback was given. Response time and error rate were recorded. In addition, electrocardiograms, galvanic skin response, respiration rate and amplitude, horizontal eye movements, and electromyograms were monitored. Two naive and two experienced subjects participated in at least 16 experimental sessions. Before training, slopes differed for the three tasks, ranging from parallel search for the feature `tilt' to a very steep serial search for the feature `gap'. These differences were reflected in the psychophysiological parameters. Reaction time and error rate decreased continuously with learning, leading to parallel search after prolonged practice for all three tasks (see Nase et al, 1995 Perception 24 Supplement, 84). Preliminary results indicate that the psychophysiological measures do not follow the perceptual changes during learning. We conclude that, despite the perceptual parallelisation with practice, the attentional load remains high for initially serial tasks.
Translated title of the contributionThe dynamics of learning in different visual search tasks: Psychophysics and psychophysiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages93 - 94
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Other: Partial overlap with Leonards et al., 1998

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