Bistable Perception Is Biased by Search Items but Not by Search Priming
During visual search, selecting a target facilitates search for similar targets in the future, known as search priming. During bistable perception, in turn, perceiving one interpretation facilitates perception of the same interpretation in the future, a form of sensory memory. Previously, we investigated the relation between these history effects by asking: can visual search influence perception of a subsequent ambiguous display and can perception of an ambiguous display influence subsequent visual search? We found no evidence for such influences, however. Here, we investigated one potential factor that might have prevented such influences from arising: lack of retinal overlap between the ambiguous stimulus and the search array items. In the present work, we therefore interleaved presentations of an ambiguous stimulus with search trials in which the target or distractor occupied the same retinal location as the ambiguous stimulus. Nevertheless, we again found no evidence for influences of visual search on bistable perception, thus demonstrating no close relation between search priming and sensory memory. We did, however, find that visual search items primed perception of a subsequent ambiguous stimulus at the same retinal location, regardless of whether they were a target or a distractor item: a form of perceptual priming. Interestingly, the strengths of search priming and this perceptual priming were correlated on a trial-to-trial basis, suggesting that a common underlying factor influences both.