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Visual search - Feature search

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Feature Search is the process of searching for distinctive feature in visual search tasks. Such as color, size, orientation or shape. Feature searches can sometimes be easily conducted if the target stimulus has a distinctive feature compared to its distracters. The object often appears to “pop out” of the display.

A unique feature which causes a stimulus to “pop out” is referred to as a feature singleton. Feature singletons can also attract attention even if they are distracters.

See also

References & Bibliography

Key texts



  • Folk, C. L., & Annett, S. (1994). Do locally defined feature discontinuities capture attention? Perception and Psychophysics, 56(3), 277-287.
  • Humphreys, G. W., Quinlan, P. T., & Riddoch, M. J. (1989). Grouping processes in visual search: Effects with single and combined-feature targets.J. Experimental Psychology: General, 118(3), 258-279.
  • Muller, H. J., Heller, D., & Ziegler, J. (1995). Visual search for singleton feature targets within and across feature dimensions. Perception and Psychophysics, 57(1), 1-17.
  • Quinlan, P. T., & Humphreys, G. W. (1987). Visual search for targets defined by combinations of color, shape,

and size: An examination of the task constraints on feature and conjunction searches. Perception and Psychophysics, 41, 455- 472.

  • Riggs, L. A. (1973 ). Curvature as a feature of pattern vision. . Science, 181, p1070--1072.

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