Contextual cueing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Contextual cueing refers to the facilitation of visual search by the occasional repetition of a visual context. In standard spatial contextual cueing, a visual search target appears in a consistent location within a repeated array of objects. Search time is faster on repeated displays relative to novel displays, even in participants who do not explicitly recognize the repeated displays. Contextual cueing exemplifies the importance of statistical learning and the resulting memory in guiding attention. Because it involves implicit, relational learning, it has been instrumental in understanding brain functions, cognitive changes across the life span, as well as effects of various neurological, neurodevelopmental, and psychiatric conditions. To stimulate further behavioral and brain research on memory-guided attention and to facilitate comparisons across studies, here we provide a methodological guide on the experimental paradigm of contextual cueing and review key findings. We identify factors that influence the strength of the effect and underscore potential pitfalls in experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuromethods
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0893-2336
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6045

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


  • Contextual cueing
  • Implicit learning
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Spatial cognition
  • Statistical learning
  • Striatum
  • Visual attention
  • Visual search


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