Characterizing Information Processing in Visual Search According to Probability of Target Prevalence

표적 출현확률에 따른 시각탐색 정보처리 특성

  • Received : 2015.08.12
  • Accepted : 2015.09.22
  • Published : 2015.09.30


In our daily life, the probability of target prevalence in visual search varies from very low to high. However, most laboratory studies of visual search used a fixed probability of target prevalence at 50%. The present study examined the properties of information processing during visual search where the probability of target prevalence was manipulated to vary from low (20%), medium (50%), to high (80%). The search items were made of simple shape stimuli, and search accuracy, signal detection measures, and reaction times (RTs) were analyzed for characterizing the effect of target prevalence on the information processing strategies for visual search. The analyses showed that the rates of misses increased whereas those of false alarms decreased in the search condition of low target prevalence, whereas the pattern was reversed in the high prevalence condition. Signal detection measures revealed that the target prevalence shifted response criterion (c) without affecting sensitivity (d'). In addition, RTs for correct rejection responses in the target-absent trials became delayed as the prevalence increased, whereas those for hits in the target-present trials were relatively constant regardless of the prevalence. The RT delay in the target-absent trials indicates that increased target prevalence made the 'quitting threshold' for search termination more conservative. These results support an account that the target prevalence effect in visual search arises from a shift of decision criteria and the subsequent changes in search information processing, while rejecting the account of a speed-accuracy tradeoff.

일상생활에서의 시각탐색의 대상이 되는 표적 사물의 출현 가능성 즉 출현 확률은 매우 낮은 경우부터 높은 경우까지 다양하다. 그럼에도 불구하고, 실험실 상황의 시각 탐색 연구에서 표적의 출현 확률은 대개 50%의 확률로 고정되는 경우가 대부분이다. 본 연구에서는 서로 다른 표적 출현확률의 영향 하에 시각탐색 과정에서의 정보처리 특성을 조사하였다. 지각적으로 단순한 도형자극으로 구성된 시각탐색과제가 실시되었으며, 탐색 표적이 제시되는 빈도를 저빈도(20%)와 중립빈도(50%), 또는 고빈도(80%)로 달리함으로써 표적 출현확률이 탐색 정보처리 책략에 미치는 영향을 탐색 정확도, 신호탐지 측정치 그리고 반응시간 차원에서 조사하였다. 실험 결과, 표적이 드물게 출현할수록 실수율이 증가하고 헛경보율이 감소했으며 반대로 고빈도 표적탐색에서는 역전된 패턴이 관찰되었다. 신호탐지 분석 결과, 이러한 결과는 민감도가 아닌 탐색 반응기준의 이동에 의한 것으로 확인되었다. 또한 반응시간 차원에서, 표적 있음 시행에서의 적중 반응은 출현확률과 관계없이 일정했던 반면 표적 없음 시행에 대한 정확한 기각 반응은 출현확률에 비례해 지연된 것이 관찰되었다. 이러한 결과는 표적이 빈번하게 출현할수록 표적 없음 상황에서 탐색을 종료하기 위한 탐색 역치 기준이 보수적이었음을 의미한다. 본 연구의 결과는 표적 출현확률 효과가 단순히 반응편향에 따른 속도-정확도 교환이 아닌 의사결정 기준의 변화에 기초한 상이한 탐색 정보처리 과정의 산물임을 시사한다.



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