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Psychol Res. 2013 May;77(3):249-59. doi: 10.1007/s00426-012-0435-y. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

Intentional weighting: a basic principle in cognitive control.

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Institute for Psychological Research and Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Department of Psychology, Cognitive Psychology Unit, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Human perception and action are tailored to the situation at hand, and thus reflect the current intentions of the perceiver/actor. We suggest that this is achieved by an "intentional-weighting" mechanism. It operates on the cognitive representations of the features of perceived events and produced event--perceptions and actions that is. Intention- or goal-related feature dimensions are weighted more strongly, so that feature values defined on the respective dimension have a stronger impact on information processing, and stimulus and response selection in particular. This article discusses what intentional weighting is, how such a mechanism may work, and how it relates to available research on attention, action planning, and executive control.

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