The Effect of Immediate Accuracy Feedback in a Multiple-Target Visual Search Task

Nada AttarUniversity of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA
Chia-Chien WuUniversity of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA
Marc PomplunUniversity of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA

Abstract

Visual search is one of the most common behaviors in daily life. Studies of visual search, however, have mainly focused on how visual properties of stimuli affect search efficiency. The current study examined the effects of immediate auditory feedback for each selection during a multiple-target visual search task. In a feedback condition, one of two different sounds was played, indicating whether the subject had reported a correct detection, i.e., was fixating a target. In the neutral sound condition, subjects always received the same sound, regardless of whether they had visually selected a target or a distractor. We analyzed overall performance measures such as trial duration and the proportion of correct target detections and correctly completed trials. Furthermore, we analyzed pupil size as a measure of cognitive effort. The results show that pupil dilation was greater and search accuracy was better when subjects were given feedback than when they only received a neutral sound. In summary, the present study demonstrates that immediate feedback may increase cognitive effort, leading to more accurate task performance, with enhancement of specific components of search behavior.

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