Selection history and the strategic control of attention. Academic Article uri icon


  • Attention is biased toward features aligning with task goals and stimuli previously allocated attentional priority (selection history). The relationship between selection history and the strategic control of attention has scarcely been explored. In the present study, we utilized a modified version of the Adaptive Choice Visual Search (ACVS) task to determine whether the choice of visual search strategy varies with the strategies participants have elected to use in the past. Participants were tasked with searching through stimuli presented in two task-relevant colors on each trial to find one of two targets. The distribution of stimuli rendered in these two colors was manipulated between subjects, with one group receiving more imbalanced displays during learning. Participants who experienced the more imbalanced displays quickly learned the optimal visual search strategy of searching through the less abundant color, which maximized performance. Critically, these participants retained their tendency toward this learned strategy in a subsequent test phase in which displays were less imbalanced, in contrast to participants who completed the same test phase but had only experienced the less imbalanced displays. Our results demonstrate that, without explicit instruction, the choice of visual search strategy is to some degree dependent upon selection history. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, A. J., Lee, D. S., Grindell, J. D., & Anderson, B. A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Andy J||Lee, David S||Grindell, James D||Anderson, Brian A

publication date

  • January 2022