This chapter presents a simplified, introductory view of how visual attention may contribute to and integrate within the broader framework of visual scene understanding. Several key components are identified that cooperate with attention during the analysis of complex dynamic visual inputs, namely, rapid computation of scene gist and layout, localized object recognition and tracking at attended locations, working memory that holds a representation of currently relevant targets, and long-term memory of known world entities and their interrelationships. Evidence from neurobiology and psychophysics is provided to support the proposed architecture. A brief overview of how some of the crucial components of primate vision may interact during active goal-oriented scene understanding is presented. It is clear that much systems-level, integrative research will be required to further piece together more focused and localized studies of the neural subsystems involved. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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