Orienting of Attention*

  title={Orienting of Attention*},
  author={Michael I. Posner},
  journal={Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology},
  pages={25 - 3}
  • M. Posner
  • Published 1 February 1980
  • Psychology
  • Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Bartlett viewed thinking as a high level skill exhibiting ballistic properties that he called its “point of no return”. 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. This instruction is executed by orienting a covert (attentional) mechanism that seems sufficiently time locked to external events that its trajectory can be traced across the visual field in… 

Figures from this paper

On the control of attention.
  • R. Klein
  • Psychology
    Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie experimentale
  • 2009
Using variants of the model task Posner developed for exploring the control of visual attention, it is demonstrated that endogenous and exogenous shifts of attention are fundamentally different on a variety of dimensions and that an aftermath of exogenous orienting, inhibition of return, facilitates search by encouraging orienting to novel items.
Isolating attentional systems: A cognitive-anatomical analysis
These studies employ the dual-task technique to determine whether covert visual orienting can take place while a person’s attention is engaged in a language processing task and find clear evidence of interference between the two tasks, which suggests some common operations.
Eye movements as a probe of attention.
Individual performance based on cognitive experimental measurements? The case of inhibition of return.
  • A. Berger
  • Psychology, Biology
    Experimental psychology
  • 2006
This study demonstrates that its standard error of measurement is extremely high, which seriously challenges any attempt to interpret an individual score as representing the characteristics of a subject's attention system, and this reliability problem might diminish the likelihood of finding differences between groups and conditions.
Structures and Functions of Selective Attention.
Abstract : A principle problem of neuropsychology is to relate the neural structures damaged in traumatic brain injury with their functions in the cognitive tasks of daily life. This lecture reviews
Dissociation of attention and intention in human posterior parietal cortex: an fMRI study
In natural environments, the orienting of attention to an object of interest occurs jointly with selecting it as a potential target for action. This coupling of perceptual selection and motor


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.
Attention and the detection of signals.
These results appear to provide an important model system for the study of the relationship between attention and the structure of the visual system, and it is found that attention shifts are not closely related to the saccadic eye movement system.
Brain Mechanisms for Directed Attention
  • M. Critchley
  • Medicine
    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • 1978
Professor Mountcastle has shown just how useful the techniques of clinical and experimental psychology can be, even in the seemingly unpromising field of animal experiment, where intercommunication is minimal and behaviour rather than speech is the touchstone.
On the Construction and Maintenance of Expectancies
Reaction time techniques were used to examine the role of attention in the construction and maintenance of expectancies. In Experiment I, a primed letter matching task, expectancies were observed
Voluntary Attention in Peripheral Vision and its Effects on Acuity and Differential Thresholds
The results support the view that, in peripheral vision, attention acts selectively on the immediate memory trace only when there is a complex pattern of stimulation.
The extent of processing of noise elements during selective encoding from visual displays
The results indicated that the interference produced by noise letters is primarily on the response as opposed to the processing side and there is a limit to the precision of selective attention in the visual field.
Visual capacity in the hemianopic field following a restricted occipital ablation.
Recent animal results suggest strongly that a severe penalty is inflicted when damage to neighbouring posterior cortical areas is added to that of the striate cortex, and human cases in which damage is relatively restricted to area 17, with only minimal damage to surrounding tissue have a renewed interest.