Experience-guided attention: Uniform and implicit

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29 Scopus citations


Frequently finding a visual search target in one region of space induces a spatial attentional bias toward that region. Past studies on this effect typically tested fewer than 20 participants. The small sample prevents an investigation of two properties of learning: visual field uniformity and role of explicit awareness. Pooling data from multiple studies, here we examined location probability learning from ~120,000 visual search trials across 420 participants. Participants performed a serial search task. Unbeknownst to them, the target was disproportionately likely to appear in one visual quadrant. Location probability learning (LPL) was measured as the difference in reaction time to targets in the high-probability “rich” quadrant and the low-probability “sparse” quadrants. Results showed a lack of visual field effect. LPL was equivalent for “rich” quadrant in the upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. Learning did not induce a hotspot diagonal to the “rich” quadrant. To the contrary, RT was the longest in the diagonal quadrant. Recognition rate of the “rich” quadrant was above chance. However, recognition accuracy was unrelated to the size of LPL. Implicit learning induces visual-field-independent changes in spatial attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1653
Number of pages7
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Psychonomic Society, Inc.


  • Implicit learning
  • Location probability learning
  • Spatial attention
  • Visual field effects


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