The time course of attentional deployment in contextual cueing

Yuhong V. Jiang, Heather M. Sigstad, Khena M. Swallow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Scopus citations


    The time course of attention is a major characteristic on which different types of attention diverge. In addition to explicit goals and salient stimuli, spatial attention is influenced by past experience. In contextual cueing, behaviorally relevant stimuli are more quickly found when they appear in a spatial context that has previously been encountered than when they appear in a new context. In this study, we investigated the time that it takes for contextual cueing to develop following the onset of search layout cues. In three experiments, participants searched for a T target in an array of Ls. Each array was consistently associated with a single target location. In a testing phase, we manipulated the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between the repeated spatial layout and the search display. Contextual cueing was equivalent for a wide range of SOAs between 0 and 1,000 ms. The lack of an increase in contextual cueing with increasing cue durations suggests that as an implicit learning mechanism, contextual cueing cannot be effectively used until search begins.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)282-288
    Number of pages7
    JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Contextual cueing
    • Implicit learning
    • Spatial attention
    • Visual search


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