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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

To increase efficiency, sensory systems process only a subset of available inputs in accord with the behavioural goals of the observer. The mechanisms that support the prioritization of relevant over irrelevant stimuli, referred to collectively as selective attention, can operate on the basis of spatial location (space-based attention), low-level visual features (e.g. orientation or colour; feature-based attention), or holistic objects (object-based attention). This chapter reviews human behavioural, electrophysiological, and neuroimaging data pertaining to the effects and control of the latter two mechanisms. Based on an increasingly rich literature spanning several decades, the authors argue that even though feature- and object-based attention are often treated as independent mechanisms, they should instead be described along a single continuum in which the information selected for prioritized processing (whether it be a single feature or a holistic object representation) is flexibly dictated by task demands.

Keywords: feature-based attention, object-based attention, human visual system, psychophysics, neuroimaging, attentional modulation, attentional control, models, interactions

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