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Exp Brain Res. 2002 Feb;142(3):349-53. Epub 2001 Dec 14.

Random visual noise impairs object-based attention.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.


Object-based visual attention is observed when the benefit of attending to one element in a display extends to other elements that are part of the same perceptual object. Apperceptive agnosia is an object identification deficit in which spatial attention is preserved but object-based attention is impaired. Some debate exists regarding the extent to which the object-based impairment can be attributed to perceptual mechanisms that are specifically involved in grouping and segmentation of a scene, as opposed to early sensory processes. In the present paper we show that random visual noise is sufficient to eliminate the object benefit, a result inconsistent with the view that grouping mechanisms are responsible for the effect. The results have implications for an understanding of apperceptive agnosia, and for an understanding of object-based attention more generally.

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