Poster C16, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Prior knowledge of category size impacts search
Brianna McGee1, Chelsea Echiverri1, Benjamin Zinszer2, Rachel Wu1; 1University of California, Riverside, 2University of Rochester
Prior research has shown that category search is similar to 1-item search (as measured by the N2pc ERP marker of attentional selection) because items in a category can be grouped into one attentional template. The present study investigated whether the perceived size of a familiar category impacts the attentional template used when searching for a category or specific items from that category. Critically, the perceived size of the categories was based on prior knowledge, rather than the experimental stimuli. We presented participants with sixteen items: eight from a smaller category (social media logos) and eight from a larger category (manufacturing company logos). We predicted that search for smaller categories would rely on a better-defined attentional template compared to larger companies, and therefore produce a larger N2pc. Twenty adult participants completed four search tasks: Search 1) specific social media logo (e.g., Facebook); Search 2) specific manufacturing logo (e.g., Xbox); Search 3) any social media logo; Search 4) any manufacturing logo. Neither reaction time nor accuracy differed between searches for social media logos or manufacturing logos, and familiarity measures showed that both categories were equally familiar to the participants. However, only searches in the social media category (for either a specific item or any item from the category) produced a significant N2pc. No N2pc was found in either item or category search for manufacturing logos. Our results show that participants' knowledge about a category's size influences the way they search for both a specific item from the category and the whole category.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Other