Guidance and selection history in hybrid foraging visual search


Wolfe JM, Cain MS, Aizenman AM. Guidance and selection history in hybrid foraging visual search. Atten Percept Psychophys 2019;81(3):637-653.

Date Published:

2019 Apr


In Hybrid Foraging tasks, observers search for multiple instances of several types of target. Collecting all the dirty laundry and kitchenware out of a child's room would be a real-world example. How are such foraging episodes structured? A series of four experiments shows that selection of one item from the display makes it more likely that the next item will be of the same type. This pattern holds if the targets are defined by basic features like color and shape but not if they are defined by their identity (e.g., the letters p & d). Additionally, switching between target types during search is expensive in time, with longer response times between successive selections if the target type changes than if they are the same. Finally, the decision to leave a screen/patch for the next screen in these foraging tasks is imperfectly consistent with the predictions of optimal foraging theory. The results of these hybrid foraging studies cast new light on the ways in which prior selection history guides subsequent visual search in general.

Last updated on 05/02/2019