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We investigated the effect of contextual cuing (M. M. Chun & Y. Jiang, 1998) within the preview paradigm (D. G. Watson & G. W. Humphreys, 1997). Contextual cuing was shown with a 10-item letter search but not with more crowded 20-item displays. However, contextual learning did occur in a preview procedure in which 10 preview items were followed by 10 new items. Repeating the new items alone did not generate contextual learning, but repeating the preview items alone did, as long as they had a consistent spatial relation with the target. This was not merely due to the onset of the preview items being associated with the target location. No learning effect took place with a preview of homogeneous items that competed less for selection with new stimuli. The results provide evidence for old items being processed in preview search and providing a context for subsequent search of new items.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform

Publication Date





1346 - 1358


Adult, Cues, Exploratory Behavior, Female, Humans, Learning, Male, Reaction Time, Visual Perception