Episodic theory of the dynamics of spatial attention.

  title={Episodic theory of the dynamics of spatial attention.},
  author={George Sperling and Erich Weichselgartner},
  journal={Psychological Review},
Previous measurements of visual attention in simple reaction time, choice reaction time and complex discrimination experiments in which attention was purported to move continuously across space are reanalyzed. These data and data from attention gating experiments are quantitatively predicted by an episodic (quantal) theory of spatial attention that proposed instead: (1) visual attention can be resolved into a sequence of discrete attentional acts (episodes), (2) each attentional episode is… 

Attentional episodes in visual perception.

A computationally motivated theory suggesting that visual attention samples information from temporal episodes (episodic simultaneous type/serial token model) is presented, and it is demonstrated that participants were able to report more letters from a sequence of 4 targets presented in a dense temporal cluster than from a sequences of4 targets interleaved with nontargets.

Measuring and modeling the trajectory of visual spatial attention.

In a novel choice attention-gating paradigm, observers monitor a stream of 3 x 3 letter arrays until a tonal cue directs them to report 1 row, resulting in a theory of attention dynamics that applies to all the principal paradigms used to study the dynamics of visual spatial attention.

An integrated theory of attention and decision making in visual signal detection.

A computational theory of performance in this task is described, which provides a detailed, quantitative account of attentional effects in spatial cuing tasks at the level of response accuracy and the response time distributions.

A dynamic normalization model of temporal attention

A dynamic normalization model of visual temporal attention is developed and constrain it with new psychophysical human data to formalize and generalize the idea of limited attentional resources across space at asingle moment to limited resources across time at a single location.

Evidence for Distinct Attentional Bottlenecks in Attention Switching and Attentional Blink Tasks

The present study found that attention can be shifted more quickly than previously estimated and that part of the deficit observed during searches of spatially distinct RSVP streams is due to an AB.

A boost and bounce theory of temporal attention.

A general theory, as well as a working computational model, that explains many findings that are problematic for limited-capacity accounts, including a new experiment showing that the attentional blink can be postponed.

The time course of selective visual attention: theory and experiments

Attending to multiple objects : the dynamics of attentional control in multi-target stimulus arrays

The experiments of this thesis demonstrate that attentional control is a highly flexible cognitive mechanism that can be rapidly altered on the basis of current goals, and can rapidly influence the processing of incoming visual information.


Evidence was provided of the influence of all these mechanisms in coding, selecting and consolidating visual information over time which suggest a multi components nature of temporal selection as well as possible involvements of a temporo-parietal network which governs their integration.

Measuring and modeling attentional dwell time

The model is based on the neural theory of visual attention and introduces the novel assumption that a stimulus retained in visual short-term memory takes up visual processing-resources used to encode stimuli into memory and is locked and cannot process subsequent stimuli until the stimulus in memory has been recoded.



Moving attention: Evidence for time-invariant shifts of visual selective attention

The direction of attention was inferred from reaction times to expected, unexpected, and neutral locations, and the development of a spatial attentional set with time was examined by presenting target probes at varying times after the cue.

Attention and saccadic eye movements.

  • R. Remington
  • Psychology, Biology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance
  • 1980
The results of these experiments support the contention that the mechanisms that shift attention are separate from those that control saccadic eye movements, and implication for theories of saccades suppression is discussed.

Moving attention through visual space.

Support is provided for an analogue movement of attention across the visual field that does not involve the suppression found during saccades by reports that these shifts of attention can be time locked to a central cue.

Dynamics of automatic and controlled visual attention.

The time course of attention was experimentally observed using two kinds of stimuli: a cue to begin attending or to shift attention, and a stimulus to be attended. Precise measurements of the time

Orienting of Attention*

  • M. Posner
  • Psychology
    The Quarterly journal of experimental psychology
  • 1980
This paper explores one aspect of cognition through the use of a simple model task in which human subjects are asked to commit attention to a position in visual space other than fixation by orienting a covert mechanism that seems sufficiently time locked to external events that its trajectory can be traced across the visual field in terms of momentary changes in the efficiency of detecting stimuli.

Movement of attentional focus across the visual field: A critical look at the evidence

Figure 1. Mean reaction time to targets at three retinal eccentricities as a function of the SOA between the precue and the target. (Adapted from Figure 1 of "Movements of Attention Across tbe Visual

Movements of attention across the visual field.

  • Y. Tsal
  • Psychology, Biology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance
  • 1983
Measurements suggest that when summoned by a peripheral cue, attention travels through space at a constant velocity of about 1 degree per 8 msec, which is close to the speed of sound.

Attention gating in short-term visual memory.

For all subjects, targets, and numeral rates, the relative position of numerals in the response sequence showed clustering, disorder, and folding, and the actual order of report resulted from a mixture of correctly ordered numerals with numerals ordered in the direction opposite to their order of presentation.

Temporal changes in the distribution of attention in the visual field in response to precues

The response competition effect of an incompatible noise letter was found to be a joint function of target and noise-letter location, an effect that changed over time from onset of the underline precue to the onset ofThe display.

Theory of attentional operations in shape identification.

This article presents a theory of selective attention that is intended to account for the identification of a visual shape in a cluttered display. The selected area of attention is assumed to be