Stable individual differences in strategies within, but not between, visual search tasks

A D F Clarke, J. L. Irons, W James, A B Leber, A R Hunt

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A striking range of individual differences has recently been reported in three different visual search tasks. These differences in performance can be attributed to strategy, that is, the efficiency with which participants control their search to complete the task quickly and accurately. Here we ask if an individual’s strategy and performance in one search task is correlated with how they perform in the other two. We tested 64 observers and found that even though the test-retest reliability of the tasks was high, an observer’s performance and strategy in one task was not predictive of their behaviour in the other two. These results suggest search strategies are stable over time, but context-specific. To understand visual search we therefore need to account not only for differences between individuals, but also how individuals interact with the search task and context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2020


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