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Visual Search in Real-World and Applied Contexts

Call for Papers


CRPI Editor in Chief: Jeremy M. Wolfe, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Guest Editor: Trafton Drew, University of Utah, 

Assistant Guest Editor: Lauren H. Williams, University of Utah,

Visual search tasks are an everyday part of the human experience - ranging from hunting for a specific recipe ingredient in the pantry to monitoring for road hazards and informational signs while driving. Due to its ubiquity in everyday life, visual search has been extensively studied in the laboratory for decades even if laboratory tasks are unable to capture the full complexity of real-world visual search tasks. In recent years, there has been a growing body of research seeking to narrow the gaps in our understanding of visual search behavior between the laboratory and the real world. The purpose of this special issue in Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications (CRPI) is to bring together this important research. 

We anticipate one set of submissions involving studies of visual search behavior in applied situations, such as driving, data visualization, website design, and expert visual search tasks (e.g., baggage screening, radiology). These papers should make an effort to connect specific applied settings to basic principles in the study of visual attention. A second set of papers will use more general laboratory search tasks to further our understanding of visual search behavior in real world situations. Both types of papers fit CRPI’s mission to publish “use-inspired basic research”; research that starts from a problem in the world and illuminates fundamental properties of perception and cognition.

Potential topics of interest include but are not limited to: individual differences in search performance, scene grammar, search in three-dimensional (3D) environments, visual & motor system interactions in visual search (e.g., rummaging or foraging tasks), search for imprecise or categorical search targets, quitting behavior, visual search in dynamic environments, real-world search errors and their laboratory analogues (the low prevalence effect, subsequent search misses, inattentional blindness), hybrid visual search, and interventions designed to improve visual search performance. We invite you to contribute.

CRPI is the open access journal of the Psychonomic Society. Its mission is to publish use-inspired basic research: fundamental cognitive research that grows from hypotheses about real-world problems. As with all Psychonomic Society journals, submissions to CRPI are subject to rigorous peer review.

For manuscripts accepted for the special issue, the publication fee may be fully or partially waived depending on the number of manuscripts accepted for the special issue. The authors should indicate when they submit a manuscript if they are requesting a waiver of the publication fee. Please email any of the editors with questions about submissions.

Deadline: manuscripts should be submitted before August 1, 2020

You can find manuscript submission details at

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