We investigated whether implicit learning in a visual search task would influence preferences for visual stimuli. Participants performed a contextual cueing task in which they searched for visual targets, the locations of which were either predicted or not predicted by the positioning of distractors. The speed with which participants located the targets increased across trials more rapidly for predictive displays than for non-predictive displays, consistent with contextual cueing. Participants were subsequently asked to rate the "goodness" of visual displays. The rating results showed that they preferred predictive displays to both non-predictive and novel displays. The participants did not recognize predictive displays any more frequently than they did non-predictive or novel displays. These results suggest that contextual cueing occurred implicitly and that the implicit learning of visual layouts promotes a preference for visual layouts that are predictive of target location.
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