Target-nontarget similarity modulates stimulus-driven control in visual search

Michael J. Proulx, Howard E. Egeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The literature contains conflicting results concerning whether an irrelevant featured singleton (an item unique with respect to a feature such as color or brightness) can control attention in a stimulus-driven manner. The present study explores whether target-nontarget similarity influences stimulus-driven shifts of attention to a distractor. An experiment evaluated whether manipulating target-nontarget similarity by varying orientation would modulate distraction by an irrelevant feature (a bright singleton). We found that increasing target-nontarget similarity resulted in a decreased impact of a uniquely bright object on visual search. This method of manipulating the target-nontarget similarity independent of the salience of a distracting feature suggests that the extent to which visual attention is stimulus-driven depends on the target-nontarget similarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)524-529
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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