Contextual cueing experiments show that, when displays are repeated, reaction times (RTs) to find a target decrease over time even when the observers are not aware of the repetition. Recent evidence suggests that this benefit in standard contextual cueing tasks is not likely to be due to an improvement in attentional guidance (Kunar, Flusberg, Horowitz, & Wolfe, 2007). Nevertheless, we ask whether guidance can help participants find the target in a repeated display, if they are given sufficient time to encode the display. In Experiment 1 we increased the display complexity so that it took participants longer to find the target. Here we found a larger effect of guidance than in a condition with shorter RTs. Experiment 2 gave participants prior exposure to the display context. The data again showed that with more time participants could implement guidance to help find the target, provided that there was something in the search stimuli locations to guide attention to. The data suggest that, although the benefit in a standard contextual cueing task is unlikely to be a result of guidance, guidance can play a role if it is given time to develop
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