Limitations on the parallel guidance of visual search: color x color and orientation x orientation conjunctions.

Wolfe JM; Yu KP; Stewart MI; Shorter AD; Friedman-Hill SR; Cave KR.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance,1990 Nov, 16(4):879-92.


In visual search for a conjunction it is much more difficult to search for the conjunction of 2 colors or 2 orientations than for Color x Orientation or Color x Shape conjunctions. The result is not limited to particular colors or shapes. Two colors cannot occupy the same spatial location in Color x Color searches. However, Experiments 6 and 7 show that Color x Shape searches remain efficient even if the color and shape are spatially separated. Our guided search model suggests that in searches for Color x Shape, a parallel color module can guide attention toward the correct color, whereas the shape module guides attention toward the correct shape. Together these 2 sources of guidance lead attention to the target. However, if a target is red and green among red-blue and green-blue distractors, it is not possible to guide search independently toward red items and green items or away from all blue items.