How much attention is needed to produce implicit learning? Previous studies have found inconsistent results, with some implicit learning tasks requiring virtually no attention while others rely on attention. In this study we examine the degree of attentional dependency in implicit learning of repeated visual search context. Observers searched for a target among distractors that were either highly similar to the target or dissimilar to the target. We found that the size of contextual cueing was comparable from repetition of the two types of distractors, even though attention dwelled much longer on distractors highly similar to the target. We suggest that beyond a minimal amount, further increase in attentional dwell time does not contribute significantly to implicit learning of repeated search context.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Correspondence should be addressed to Valeria Rausei, University of Trento–Department of Cognitive Science and Education, C.so Bettini n°31, 38068 Rovereto (TN), Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This research was supported by NIH MH071788, ARO 46926-LS and ONR YIP 2005 to Y.V.J. It was conducted while V.R. was visiting Jiang Lab. We thank Tim Vickery and Won Mok Shim for comments and suggestions.