Informational shortcuts in attentional guidance
Abstract: Visual search is a complex task that humans perform many times throughout the day. Examples include searching for the perfect snack in a supermarket, looking for a misplaced phone in a cluttered room, or finding a friend in a busy restaurant. The efficiency with which we perform these tasks has a significant impact on the quality of our lives. When we can find what we're looking for quickly, we move through our daily tasks with ease. However, when it is difficult, we waste time or even fail to achieve our final goals of making a meal, getting to an appointment, or socializing with a friend. Successful search processes rely on attentional mechanisms to organize knowledge of the past and expectations of the future to optimally sample information from the external world to guide behavior. But how do we do this? In this talk, I'll describe work we've been doing in the lab that looks at how attentional guidance uses coarse-but-adaptive information to guide attention toward targets, but target decisions rely on more precise and complete target information. We suggest that the guidance and decision stages of visual search use different template information in order to maixmize search efficiency.