GSDT: An Integrative Model of Visual Search

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Abstract

We present a new quantitative process model (GSDT) of visual search that seeks to integrate various processing mechanisms suggested by previous studies within a single, coherent conceptual frame. It incorporates and combines 4 distinct model components: guidance (G), a serial (S) item inspection process, diffusion (D) modeling of individual item inspections, and a strategic termination (T) rule. For this model, we derive explicit closed-form results for response probability and mean search time (reaction time [RT]) as a function of display size and target presence/absence. The fit of the model is compared in detail to data from 4 visual search experiments in which the effects of target/distractor discriminability and of target prevalence on performance (present/absent display size functions for mean RT and error rate) are studied. We describe how GSDT accounts for various detailed features of our results such as the probabilities of hits and correct rejections and their mean RTs; we also apply the model to explain further aspects of the data, such as RT variance and mean miss RT.

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