Interaction between scene-based and array-based contextual cueing

Gail M. Rosenbaum, Yuhong V. Jiang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Scopus citations


    Contextual cueing refers to the cueing of spatial attention by repeated spatial context. Previous studies have demonstrated distinctive properties of contextual cueing by background scenes and by an array of search items. Whereas scene-based contextual cueing reflects explicit learning of the scene-target association, array-based contextual cueing is supported primarily by implicit learning. In this study, we investigated the interaction between scene-based and array-based contextual cueing. Participants searched for a target that was predicted by both the background scene and the locations of distractor items. We tested three possible patterns of interaction: (1) The scene and the array could be learned independently, in which case cueing should be expressed even when only one cue was preserved; (2) the scene and array could be learned jointly, in which case cueing should occur only when both cues were preserved; (3) overshadowing might occur, in which case learning of the stronger cue should preclude learning of the weaker cue. In several experiments, we manipulated the nature of the contextual cues present during training and testing. We also tested explicit awareness of scenes, scene-target associations, and arrays. The results supported the overshadowing account: Specifically, scene-based contextual cueing precluded array-based contextual cueing when both were predictive of the location of a search target. We suggest that explicit, endogenous cues dominate over implicit cues in guiding spatial attention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)888-899
    Number of pages12
    JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Attention
    • Contextual cueing
    • Implicit/explicit learning
    • Visual search


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