The role of within-dimension singleton priming in visual search. Academic Article uri icon


  • The authors report a newly identified intertrial priming phenomenon, within-dimension singleton priming, by which search for a target that happens to be a singleton on the current trial is faster when the target on the previous trial had also been a singleton on the same dimension rather than a nonsingleton. This effect was replicated in 6 experiments with different procedures, with singletons on various dimensions, when the featural contrast defining the singleton remained the same or changed within a dimension from one trial to the next, and when the target was a singleton on a target-defining dimension or on an irrelevant dimension. These findings cannot be explained by previously demonstrated intertrial repetition effects such as dimension-specific priming or priming of popout. Theoretical implications of the within-dimension singleton priming phenomenon are discussed relative to the dimension-weighting hypothesis, the role of stimulus-driven salience in feature-guided search, and the roles of intertrial priming and goal-directed factors in visual search.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008