Space-, object-, and feature-based attention interact to organize visual scenes

  • Kravitz D
  • Behrmann M
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Abstract

Biased-competition accounts of attentional processing propose that attention arises from distributed interactions within and among different types of perceptual representations (e.g., spatial, featural, and object-based). Although considerable research has examined the facilitation in processing afforded by attending selectively to spatial locations, or to features, or to objects, surprisingly little research has addressed a key prediction of the biased-competition account: that attending to any stimulus should give rise to simultaneous interactions across all the types of perceptual representations encompassed by that stimulus. Here we show that, when an object in a visual display is cued, space-, feature-, and object-based forms of attention interact to enhance processing of that object and to create a scene-wide pattern of attentional facilitation. These results provide evidence to support the biased-competition framework and suggest that attention might be thought of as a mechanism by which multiple, disparate bottom-up, and even top-down, visual perceptual representations are coordinated and preferentially enhanced.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Neural attentional mechanisms
  • Object-based attention
  • Space-based attention

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