Rethinking the target template in visual search: the role of learned expectations

This talk will take place online and in person in the seminar room of New Radcliffe House. If you plan to attend online. talk links will be sent to the EP Seminars list the day before the talk. Contact Nima ( ) or Lauren ( if you are not on the list and would like to join the seminar.

Models of attention posit the existence of a target, or attentional, template in working memory. Traditionally, the template has been characterised as containing a static and veridical representation of the target that is most efficient when highly precise.

In this talk, I will share data from my lab that challenges this notion and instead suggests that the target template is highly flexible and contains information that maximises the ability to distinguish targets from distractors. This information is often off-veridical and determined by expectations about the local stimulus context, target variability, and learned associations. Our results indicate that the purpose of the target template is to maximise target-to-distractor distinctiveness and doing so often relies on information beyond the visual features of the target object.