One of the big questions in vision research over the past 40 years has asked how we effectively search around our visual environment. Search is something that we unwittingly engage in every day of our lives – whether it’s looking for our car keys, scrabbling around for a lost contact lens, or rummaging around in a bag for a lost pen lid. But the way in which researchers have classically tested the limits of visual search have looked very different to what we might think of as search in the real world.
To answer that question, Iain Gilchrist, Alice North and Bruce Hood developed a simple but ingenious experiment: instead of getting people to search through a computer display, they got them to forage around a grid of film canisters laid out on a floor. The task was to find the ‘target’ – in this case, a marble hidden inside one of the canisters. Just like the computer-based versions, the task could have either a target-present or a target-absent condition, and the number of items in the display could be varied.
Read the whole story: The Guardian