Species of Redundancy in Visual Target Detection

Boaz M. Ben-David*, Daniel Algom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a series of investigations into the effects of common names, physical identity, and physical similarity on visual detection time. The effect of these factors on the capacity of the system processing the signals was also examined. We used a redundant targets design with separate testing of the target-distractor (single target), target-target (redundant targets), and distractor-distractor (no targets) displays. When a target and a distractor share names, detection of the target is slower than it is in a situation in which the two do not go by a common name. Nevertheless, the gain reaped by redundant targets in this situation is larger and signal processing is of increased capacity compared with those in a situation in which the target and the distractor are coded by different names. The results also highlight the role of physical identity of targets: Detection is disproportionately efficient when reproductions of a given signal are presented. Together, the results provide guiding principles for a model of visual detection by a context-sensitive human detector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-976
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • capacity
  • common names
  • letters
  • redundant signals
  • similarity


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