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J Exp Psychol Gen. 1994 Jun;123(2):146-60.

Does visual attention select objects or locations?

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Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890.


Much research supports location-based attentional selection, but J. Duncan (1984) presented data favoring object-based selection in a shape discrimination task. Does attention select objects or locations? We confirmed that Duncan's task elicits selection from spatially invariant object representations rather than from a grouped location-based representation. We next asked whether this finding was due to location-based filtering; the results again supported object-based selection. Finally, we demonstrated that when Duncan's objects were used in a cued detection task the results were consistent with location-based selection. These results suggest that there may not be a single attention mechanism, consistent with Duncan's original claim that object-based and location-based attentional selection are not mutually exclusive. Rather, attentional limitations may depend on the type of stimulus representation used in performing a given task.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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