Blaming the victims of your own mistakes: How visual search accuracy influences evaluation of stimuli

Cognition & Emotion
Andrey ChetverikovArni Kristjansson


Even without explicit positive or negative reinforcement, experiences may influence preferences. According to the affective feedback in hypotheses testing account preferences are determined by the accuracy of hypotheses: correct hypotheses evoke positive affect, while incorrect ones evoke negative affect facilitating changes of hypotheses. Applying this to visual search, we suggest that accurate search should lead to more positive ratings of targets than distractors, while for errors targets should be rated more negatively. We test this in two experiments using time-limited search for a conjunction of gender and tint of faces. Accurate search led to more positive ratings for targets as compared to distractors or targets following errors. Errors led to more negative ratings for targets than for distractors. Critically, eye tracking revealed that the longer the fixation dwell times in target regions, the higher the target ratings for correct responses, and the lower the ratings for errors. The longer observers look at targets, the more positive their ratings if they answer correctly, and less positive, following errors. The findings support the affective feedback account and provide the first demonstration of negative effects on ...Continue Reading


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Oct 24, 2014·Attention, Perception & Psychophysics·Andrey Chetverikov, Arni Kristjansson
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