Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 1998 Sep 24;395(6700):376-81.

Object-based attention in the primary visual cortex of the macaque monkey.

Author information

Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam, Department of Visual System Analysis, Academic Medical Center, The Netherlands.


Typical natural visual scenes contain many objects, which need to be segregated from each other and from the background. Present theories subdivide the processes responsible for this segregation into a pre-attentive and attentive system. The pre-attentive system segregates image regions that 'pop out' rapidly and in parallel across the visual field. In the primary visual cortex, responses to pre-attentively selected image regions are enhanced. When objects do not segregate automatically from the rest of the image, the time-consuming attentive system is recruited. Here we investigate whether attentive selection is also associated with a modulation of firing rates in area V1 of the brain in monkeys trained to perform a curve-tracing task. Neuronal responses to the various segments of a target curve were simultaneously enhanced relative to responses evoked by a distractor curve, even if the two curves crossed each other. This indicates that object-based attention is associated with a response enhancement at the earliest level of the visual cortical processing hierarchy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center