What is learned in spatial contextual cuing - Configuration or individual locations?

Yuhong Jiang, Laura C. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


With the use of spatial contextual cuing, we tested whether subjects learned to associate target locations with overall configurations of distractors or with individual locations of distractors. In Experiment 1, subjects were trained on 36 visual search displays that contained 36 sets of distractor locations and 18 target locations. Each target location was paired with two sets of distractor locations on separate trials. After training, the subjects showed perfect transfer to recombined displays, which were created by combining half of one trained distractor set with half of another trained distractor set. This result suggests that individual distractor locations were sufficient to cue the target location. In Experiment 2, the subjects showed good transfer from trained displays to rescaled, displaced, and perceptually regrouped displays, suggesting that the relative locations among items were also learned. Thus, both individual target-distractor associations and configural associations are learned in contextual cuing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-463
Number of pages10
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2004


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