|Abstract||Although much of vision appears to be effortless and all-encompassing, there nevertheless exist limits to what it can do. Consider, for example, air traffic control, where it is imperative to keep track of all moving items in a display (corresponding to the airplanes in an airspace). If only a single item is present, it can generally be tracked without problem. It is also possible to track four or five items simultaneously, although some effort is needed. But for twenty or thirty items, even a maximal effort will not suffice, and the task must be shared among several controllers. What appears to be happening in such cases is that visual perception is constrained by a consciously-controlled factor within the observer, a factor that enables certain kinds of processing to take place, but which is limited in the extent to which it can be applied. This factor is referred to as visual attention.|
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