Statistical learning modulates the direction of the first head movement in a large-scale search task

Bo Yeong Won, Hyejin J. Lee, Yuhong V. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Foraging and search tasks in everyday activities are often performed in large, open spaces, necessitating head and body movements. Such activities are rarely studied in the laboratory, leaving important questions unanswered regarding the role of attention in large-scale tasks. Here we examined the guidance of visual attention by statistical learning in a large-scale, outdoor environment. We used the orientation of the first head movement as a proxy for spatial attention and examined its correspondence with reaction time (RT). Participants wore a lightweight camera on a baseball cap while searching for a coin on the concrete floor of a 64-m2 outdoor space. We coded the direction of the first head movement at the start of a trial. The results showed that the first head movement was highly sensitive to the location probability of the coin and demonstrated more rapid adjustment to changes in environmental statistics than RTs did. Because the first head movement occurred ten times faster than the search RT, these results show that visual statistical learning affected attentional orienting early in large-scale tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2229-2239
Number of pages11
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Attention in learning
  • Spatial cognition
  • Visual search


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