EFFICIENT SELECTION MODULATED BY IMPLICIT INTER-TRIAL PATTERNS: CONVERGENT DISSOCIATIONS FROM PERCEPTUAL LOAD
Efficiency of selection was assessed when low or high perceptual load blocks of trials were impoverished or enriched with recurrent inter-trial implicit patterns of visual information discerning targets from non-targets. Types of implicit inter-trial information were defined as stable patterns of stimuli sizes, color and positions. We hypothesized that implicit recurrent patterns can facilitate selection and dispel congruency effects in visual search. Perceptual load theory predicts that the level of perceptual load inflicted by a task is inversely proportional to congruency effects (Lavie, 1995, 2005; Lavie & Tsal, 1994). In two experiments those findings were replicated and reversed. Six convergent manipulations of different kinds of inter-trial patterns modulated the size of congruency interferences as predicted. Results suggest that 1) congruency effects stem from involuntary use of all visual information available, even when counterproductively, and 2) perceptual load is a poor predictor of efficient selection.