New paper by Alex, “Don’t hide the instruction manual: A dynamic trade-off between using internal and external templates during visual search”.
Where is that specific screw you’ve seen in your IKEA instruction manual, but are now missing to assemble your cupboard?
Typically, when visual search is investigated, participants are asked to memorize templates before searching for them somewhere in an array of distractors (e.g., similar-looking screws). Unlike in these traditional tasks, however, searchers can often take a second look at templates. Here, we investigated how participants search when templates can be looked at again throughout the task – in other words, we did not take away the instruction manual. Participants regularly looked back at the manual (templates) when they could – the more so when search was difficult. Although they sometimes looked back seemingly unnecessarily, this behaviour frequently helped improve their accuracy, and was also time-efficient
These findings suggest that the external world is used to dynamically alleviate the burden on memory during visual search.
Hoogerbrugge, A., Strauch, C., Nijboer, T. C., & Van Der Stigchel, S. (2023). Don’t hide the instruction manual: a dynamic trade-off between using internal and external templates during visual search. Journal of Vision, 23(7), 14. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.23.7.14