Upper-Left Gaze Bias Reveals Competing Search Strategies In A Reverse Stroop Task

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Acta Psychologica


Three experiments with a total of 87 human observers revealed an upper-left spatial bias in the initial movement of gaze during visual search. The bias was present whether or not the explicit control of gaze was required for the task. This bias may be part of a search strategy that competed with the fixed-gaze parallel search strategy hypothesized by Durgin [Durgin, F. H. (2003). Translation and competition among internal representations in a reverse Stroop effect. Perception & Psychophysics, 65, 367–378.] for this task. When the spatial probabilities of the search target were manipulated either in accord with or in opposition to the existing upper-left bias, two orthogonal factors of interference in the latency data were differentially affected. The two factors corresponded to two different forms of representation and search. Target probabilities consistent with the gaze bias encouraged opportunistic serial search (including gaze shifts), while symmetrically opposing target probabilities produced latency patterns more consistent with parallel search based on a sensory code.