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Geyer, Thomas (2005): Role of facilitatory and inhibitory short-term memory mechanisms for the guidance of visual search. Dissertation, LMU München: Fakultät für Psychologie und Pädagogik



In the visual search paradigm, participants’ task is to detect the presence or absence of a target item, which is presented in an array of distractor items. Usually it is found that performance is dependent on specific properties of the visual display, for example, the number of items to be searched or the similarity between display items. However, recent research has demonstrated that memory mechanisms can also affect search behaviour. Further, it was found that memory mechanisms can, in principle, be either facilitatory or inhibitory, that is, that the processing of the item locations, features, or search objects themselves can be improved or impeded, respectively. This thesis investigated the effects of (1) facilitatory and inhibitory memory mechanisms based on the element positions within the search display; (2) facilitatory memory mechanisms based on the features of the search elements; and (3) inhibitory memory mechanisms based on the search objects themselves.