Contributions from cognitive neuroscience to understanding functional mechanisms of visual search
We argue that cognitive neuroscience can contribute not only information about the neural localization of processes underlying visual search, but also information about the functional nature of these processes. First we present an overview of recent work on whether search for form–colour conjunctions is constrained by processes involved in binding across the two dimensions. Patients with parietal lesions show a selective problem with form–colour conjunctive search relative to a more difficult search task not requiring cross-dimensional binding. This is consistent with an additional process—cross-dimensional binding—being involved in the conjunctive search task. We then review evidence from preview search using electrophysiological, brain imaging, and neuropsychological techniques suggesting preview benefits in search are not simply due to onset capture. Taken together the results highlight the value of using converging evidence from behavioural studies of normal observers and studies using neuroscientific methods.
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