Physical Properties: Relationships (05-04-20)

Guo, Courtney, and Fischer collected information that confirms how interrelated our sensory experiences are.  The team found that “physical properties are not always readily observable, and we often must rely on our knowledge of attributes such as weight, hardness, and slipperiness to guide our actions on familiar objects. . . . In a series of four visual search experiments, participants viewed arrays of everyday objects and were tasked with locating a specified object. The target was sometimes differentiated from the distractors based on its hardness, while a host of other visual and semantic attributes were controlled. We found that observers implicitly used the hardness distinction to locate the target more quickly, even though none reported being aware that hardness was relevant. . . .  Our findings show that observers implicitly recruit their knowledge of objects’ physical properties to guide how they attend to and engage with visual scenes.” So, nonvisual aspects of an object influence purely visual searches for it.

Li Guo, Susan Courtney, and Jason Fischer.  “Knowledge of Objects’ Physical Properties Implicitly Guides Attention During Visual Search.”  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, in press, https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000776