Brain and Mind 1 (3):353-384 (2000)

Because the visual system cannot process all of the objects, colors, and features present in a visual scene, visual attention allows some visual stimuli to be selected and processed over others. Most research on visual attention has focused on spatial or location-based attention, in which the locations occupied by stimuli are selected for further processing. Recent research, however, has demonstrated the importance of objects in organizing (or segregating) visual scenes and guiding attentional selection. Because of the long history of spatial attention research, theories of spatial attention are more mature than theories of other visual processes, such as object segregation and object attention. In the present paper, I outline a biased competition account of object segregation and attention, following similar accounts that have been developed for spatial attention (Desimone and Duncan, 1995). In my biased competition account, I seek to understand how some objects can be segregated and selected over other objects in a complex visual scene. Under this account, there are two sources of visual information that allow an object to be processed over other objects: bottom-up information carried by the physical stimulus and top-down information based on an observer's goals. I use the biased competition account to combine many diverse findings from the object segregation and attention literatures into a common framework.
Keywords attention  perceptual organization  figure-ground segregation  object-based attention
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1011565623996
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,192
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Vision.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.
A Feature Integration Theory of Attention.Anne Treisman - 1980 - Cognitive Psychology 12:97-136.
Neural Mechanisms of Selective Visual Attention.R. Desimone & J. Duncan - 1995 - Annual Review of Neuroscience 18 (1):193-222.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Attention.Christopher Mole - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Defending Realism on the Proper Ground.Athanassios Raftopoulos - 2006 - Philosophical Psychology 19 (1):47-77.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
177 ( #66,309 of 2,507,486 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,983 of 2,507,486 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes