The Role of Target Representation in Subsequent Search Misses Effect



Subsequent search misses (SSM) effect is the decrease in accuracy of the second target detection after finding the first target in visual search task. Two main explanations of this phenomenon (resource depletion and «perceptual bias» accounts) refer to functioning of attention. In this experiment, the dependence of effect’s magnitude from the degree of target’s representation accuracy was studied. The degree of representation accuracy detail may be varied by target template: we used the verbal title of the target category, the morphed averaged image of an object from a category, or both title and image (target templates are provided in ascending order of representation detail). Participants’ task was to search for the targets among distracters. Targets could be identical or perceptually different. 60 participants (12 male, 48 female) aged from 18 to 35 (M = 21.33, SD = 3.61) participated in the study. SSM magnitude was shown to depend on the type of target. The results are discussed in the context of combined (mixed) theory of the SSM.

General Information

Keywords: visual search, visual attention, subsequent search misses, target representation, categorization

Journal rubric: Cognitive Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The research was supported by Russian Science Foundation (RSF) grant № 20-78-10055.

Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful for data analysis Kozlov K.S.

Received: 20.01.2021


For citation: Ermolova A.M., Gorbunova E.S. The Role of Target Representation in Subsequent Search Misses Effect. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2022. Vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 19–32. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2022150102. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Anastasiia M. Ermolova, Research Assistant, Laboratory for Cognitive Psychology of Digital Interfaces User, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Elena S. Gorbunova, PhD in Psychology, LAssociate Professor, Head of Laboratory of Cognitive Psychology of Digital Interfaces User, School of Psychology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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