Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Neural Correlates of Visual Pop-Out and Attentional Control

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Neural Correlates of Visual Pop-Out and Attentional Control

Article excerpt

VISUAL SEARCH

Burrows & Moore (2009). Influence and limitations of popout in the selection of salient visual stimuli by area V4 neurons. J Neurosci, 29, 15169.

A classic finding in the visual search literature is that salient targets (e.g., a horizontal target among vertical nontargets or a green target among red nontargets) can be found efficiently regardless of the number of nontargets. In contrast, a target that is defined by a conjunction of features (e.g., a green horizontal target among red horizontal and green vertical nontargets) is much harder to find, and increasingly so as the number of nontargets increases. Prominent models of visual search have attempted to explain the difference between "pop-out search" and "conjunction search" by proposing individual feature maps for basic features such as color and orientation, which then feed information about feature differences and observer goals to salience maps that are capable of guiding search to the target. Although such models acknowledge the contributions of both top-down (observer goals) and bottom-up (feature differences) influences, a strong belief remains that the efficiency of pop-out search is driven primarily by bottom-up feature differences. Accordingly, there has been great interest in understanding how the visual salience that arises from such feature differences is represented in the brain and whether the computation of such representations is truly invulnerable to top-down influence. …

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