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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1994 Oct;20(5):1000-14.

Spatial filtering during visual search: evidence from human electrophysiology.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego.


The identification of targets in visual search arrays may be improved by suppressing competing information from the surrounding distractor items. The present study provided evidence that this hypothetical filtering process has a neural correlate, the "N2pc" component of the event-related potential waveform. The N2pc was observed when a target item was surrounded by competing distractor items but was absent when the array could be rejected as a nontarget on the basis of simple feature information. In addition, the N2pc was eliminated when filtering was discouraged by removing the distractor items, making the distractors relevant, or making all items within an array identical. Combined with previous topographic analyses, these results suggest that attentional filtering occurs in occipital cortex under the control of feedback from higher cortical regions after a preliminary feature-based analysis of the stimulus array.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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