Rapid resumption: A new form of memory in visual search

We report on a new visual search task in which observers make highly accurate two-alternative forced-choice responses within 100-400 ms of display onset. This is a striking result, since accurate responding in a difficult search of this kind is usually possible only after at least 500 ms from display onset. The conditions under which such rapid responses are obtained involve brief initial glimpses of a search display interrupted by either a blank screen or a glimpse of a second display. On re-presentation of the original display, a significant proportion of responses are made within 100-500 ms. Since these responses are never made in the absence of display re-presentation, they are evidence of "rapid resumption" of the search task. We report experiments exploring the conditions critical for rapid resumption and consider its implications for memorial processes in visual search.
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