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The role of highlighting in visual search through maps

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Two experiments were conducted in which participants performed a vehicle dispatching task. The intensity of one information source (vehicles in Experiment 1, destinations in Experiment 2) was varied to examine the effects of salience and discrimination on both searching for and processing the information in a cluttered display. Response times were recorded for questions either requiring focused attention on or divided attention between the different information domains in the map. The results of the present experiments indicate that it is possible to declutter a display without erasing any information. By 'lowlighting' one information domain and keeping the other domain at a fairly high intensity level, dividing attention between the information sources is optimal, as is focusing attention on either of the information domains exclusively. These results are discussed in conjunction with a computational model of confusion and salience which serves to predict search and integration performance in a cluttered display with separate domains of information displayed at different intensities.


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