Speaking 'can help car key search'

Searching for car keys is an annoying exploit many can empathise with, but speaking aloud while doing it can actually help to find them, according to research.

Scientists believe if people say the name of the object they are searching for out loud it can help them to remember where they left them.

The "Self-directed speech affects visual search performance" study, published earlier this year in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, showed that hearing an object's name can increase the effectiveness of searching in multiple places for it.

Researchers noted that it can help to such an extent that using this tactic can also assist a "visual search" by making seemingly "invisible" objects "visible".

Assistant Professor Gary Lupyan and Associate Professor Daniel Swingley, who co-wrote the research, said: "When participants are asked to find a visual item among distractors (other objects), hearing its name immediately prior to searching improves speed and efficiency of searching for the named object.

"Hearing an object name can…improve the ability to attend simultaneously to multiple regions of space containing the named objects and even make an otherwise invisible object visible."

Copyright Press Association 2012