We investigated the decision process underlying the detection of targets at multiple locations. In three experiments using the same observers, target location probability and attentional instructions were manipulated. A redundant-target detection task was conducted in which participants were required to detect a dot presented at one of two locations. When the dot appeared at the two locations with equal frequency (Experiment 1), those participants who were found to have limited to unlimited capacity were shown to adopt a parallel, self-terminating strategy. By contrast, those participants who had supercapacity were shown to process redundant targets in a coactive manner. When targets were presented with unequal probability, two participants adopted a parallel, self-terminating strategy regardless of whether they were informed the target location probability (Experiment 3) or not (Experiment 2). For the remaining two participants, the strategy changed from parallel, self-terminating to serial, self-terminating as a result of the probability instructions. In Experiments 2 and 3, all the participants were of unlimited to limited capacity. Taken together, these results suggest that target location probability differently affects the selection of a decision strategy and highlight the role of controlled attention in selecting a decision strategy.
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