The contents of perceptual hypotheses: evidence from rapid resumption of interrupted visual search.
It is possible to resume a previously interrupted visual search trial significantly faster than starting a new search trial (Lleras, Rensink, & Enns, 2005). This rapid resumption of search is possible because evidence accumulated during the previous exposure can carry over to a subsequent presentation. We present four interrupted visual search experiments that characterize the content of accumulated memory within visual search trials. These experiments reveal that prior to explicit target identification, subjects have accumulated evidence about the location of a subset of task-relevant distractors, but not their identity, as well as sub-response-threshold evidence for the identity of the target. Our results characterize the content of accumulated memory within search trials and highlight the utility of interrupted search for studying online search processing prior to target identification.