Differential time course of implicit and explicit cueing by colour and orientation in visual search

Giles Anderson, Dietmar Heinke, Glyn Humphreys

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Using a cued conjunction search task, Anderson, Heinke, and Humphreys (2010) demonstrated larger effects from cueing target colour than from cueing target orientation. In this study, we separated the implicit (nonexpectation-dependent) and explicit (expectation-dependent) effects of orientation and colour visual cues. In Experiment 1, we replicated the original findings for short cue durations (100-200 ms), demonstrating that cues matching the physical property of the target on 80% of trials exert a rapid effect on search. These early cueing effects on reaction times were supported by evidence of guidance from cues on early eye movements. Experiment 2 introduced a feature to the cue that randomly matched the colour or orientation of the target. When cue orientation was predictive, there were strong implicit effects based on whether the colour of the cue and target matched. When cue colour was predictive, there were only weak effects from the cue's orientation. Implicit effects from cue colour remained when orientation-predictive cues were used and colour was unlikely to predict the target (Experiment 3). The data suggest that strong effects of colour cueing result from a combination of implicit and explicit processes, whereas effects from orientation cues are largely limited to the explicit guidance of visual search.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-288
Number of pages31
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Colour
  • Search
  • Explicit
  • Cueing
  • Implicit


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