Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Scene Categorization and Attention

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Scene Categorization and Attention

Article excerpt

ATTENTIONAL CAPTURE

Peelen et al. (2009). Neural mechanisms of rapid natural scene categorization in human visual cortex. Nature, 460, 94.

An ongoing issue in attentional control is whether attention can be captured by irrelevant stimuli. Such bottom-up capture has support from some behavioral studies, but other work has indicated that a top-down attentional set is required for incoming stimuli to capture attention. Relevant to this issue, Peelen et al. investigated neural responses to object categories (people or cars) that fell inside or outside the focus of attention. The object categories activated different extrastriate visual areas, allowing the fMRI BOLD signal to serve as an indirect measure of attention and recognition. The participants viewed displays that contained four pictures of different scenes and were asked to report the presence of an object category (people or cars) at one of two sets of locations (either above-below or to the left-right of fixation). The authors manipulated the categories at the attended locations orthogonally to the categories present at the unattended locations, thus allowing responses to the attended and unattended categories to be disentangled. …

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