Early color grouping and late color inhibition: Evidence for distinct temporal windows for seperate processes in preview search

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The authors report 4 experiments that examined color grouping and negative carryover effects in preview search via a probe detection task (J. J. Braithwaite, G. W. Humphreys, & J. Hodsoll, 2003). In Experiment 1, there was evidence of a negative color carryover from the preview to new items, using both search and probe detection measures. There was also a negative bias against probes on old items that carried the majority color in the preview. With a short preview duration (150 ms) carryover effects to new items were greatly reduced, but probe detection remained biased against the majority color in the old items. Experiments 2 and 4 showed that the color bias effects on old items could be reduced when these items had to be prioritized relative to being ignored. Experiment 3 tested and rejected the idea that variations in the probability of whether minority or majority colors were probed were crucial. These results show that the time course of color carryover effects can be separated from effects of early color grouping in the preview display: Color grouping is fast, and inhibitory color carryover effects are slow.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-517
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • color grouping, time effects, visual selective attention, inhibition, attentional guidance