Skip to main content Accessibility help

Fixations are not all created equal: An objection to mindless visual search

  • James T. Enns (a1) and Marcus R. Watson (a2)


This call to revolution in theories of visual search does not go far enough. Treating fixations as uniform is an oversimplification that obscures the critical role of the mind. We remind readers that what happens during a fixation depends on mindset, as shown in studies of search strategy and of humans' ability to rapidly resume search following an interruption.



Hide All
Enns, J. T. & Kingstone, A. (1995) Access to global and local properties in visual search for compound stimuli. Psychological Science 6:283–91.
Fecteau, J. H., Enns, J. T. & Kingstone, A. (2000) Competition-induced visual field differences in search. Psychological Science 11:386–93.
Hochberg, J. (1968) In the mind's eye. In: Contemporary theory and research in visual perception, ed. Haber, R. N., pp. 309–31. Holt Rinehart and Winston.
Hochberg, J. (1982) How big is a stimulus? In: Contemporary theory and research in visual perception, ed. Beck, J., pp. 191217. Erlbaum.
Lleras, A., Rensink, R. A. & Enns, J. T. (2005) Rapid resumption of interrupted visual search new insights on the interaction between vision and memory. Psychological Science 16(9):684–88.
Lleras, A., Rensink, R. A. & Enns, J. T. (2007) Consequences of display changes during interrupted visual search: Rapid resumption is target specific. Perception and Psychophysics 69(6):980–93.
Peterson, M. A., Gillam, B. & Sedgwick, H. A., eds. (2006) In the mind's eye: Julian Hochberg on the perception of pictures, films, and the world. Oxford University Press.
Roggeveen, A. B., Kingstone, A. & Enns, J. T. (2004) Influence of inter-item symmetry in visual search. Spatial Vision 17:443–64.
Smilek, D., Enns, J. T., Eastwood, J. D. & Merikle, P. M. (2006) Relax! Cognitive strategy influences visual search. Visual Cognition 14(4–8):543–64.
Sutton, R. S. & Barto, A. G. (1998) Reinforcement learning: An Introduction. The MIT Press.
van Zoest, W., Giesbrecht, B., Enns, J. T. & Kingstone, A. F. (2006) Inter-item symmetry influences visual search. Psychological Science 17:535–42.
van Zoest, W., Lleras, A., Kingstone, A. F. & Enns, J. T. (2007) In sight, out of mind: The role of eye movements in the rapid resumption of visual search. Perception and Psychophysics 69:1204–17.
Watson, M. R., Brennan, A. A., Kingstone, A. & Enns, J. T. (2010) Looking versus seeing: Strategies alter eye movements during visual search. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 17(4):543–49.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed