Abstract

The redundant-signals effect (RSE) refers to a speed-up of RT when the response is triggered by two, rather than just one, response-relevant target elements. Although there is agreement that in the visual modality RSEs observed with dimensionally redundant signals originating from the same location are generated by coactive processing architectures, there has been a debate as to the exact stage(s)—preattentive versus postselective—of processing at which coactivation arises. To determine the origin(s) of redundancy gains in visual pop-out search, the present study combined mental chronometry with electrophysiological markers that reflect purely preattentive perceptual (posterior-contralateral negativity [PCN]), preattentive and postselective perceptual plus response selection-related (stimulus-locked lateralized readiness potential [LRP]), or purely response production-related processes (response-locked LRP). As expected, there was an RSE on target detection RTs, with evidence for coactivation. At the electrophysiological level, this pattern was mirrored by an RSE in PCN latencies, whereas stimulus-locked LRP latencies showed no RSE over and above the PCN effect. Also, there was no RSE on the response-locked LRPs. This pattern demonstrates a major contribution of preattentive perceptual processing stages to the RSE in visual pop-out search, consistent with parallel-coactive coding of target signals in multiple visual dimensions [Müller, H. J., Heller, D., & Ziegler, J. Visual search for singleton feature targets within and across feature dimensions. Perception & Psychophysics, 57, 1–17, 1995].

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