Guided search: an alternative to the feature integration model for visual search

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1989 Aug;15(3):419-33. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.15.3.419.


Subjects searched sets of items for targets defined by conjunctions of color and form, color and orientation, or color and size. Set size was varied and reaction times (RT) were measured. For many unpracticed subjects, the slopes of the resulting RT X Set Size functions are too shallow to be consistent with Treisman's feature integration model, which proposes serial, self-terminating search for conjunctions. Searches for triple conjunctions (Color X Size X Form) are easier than searches for standard conjunctions and can be independent of set size. A guided search model similar to Hoffman's (1979) two-stage model can account for these data. In the model, parallel processes use information about simple features to guide attention in the search for conjunctions. Triple conjunctions are found more efficiently than standard conjunctions because three parallel processes can guide attention more effectively than two.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Color Perception
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Form Perception*
  • Humans
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Reaction Time
  • Size Perception