Nonretinotopic exogenous attention

Curr Biol. 2011 Oct 25;21(20):1732-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.059. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Attention is crucial for visual perception because it allows the visual system to effectively use its limited resources by selecting behaviorally and cognitively relevant stimuli from the large amount of information impinging on the eyes. Reflexive, stimulus-driven attention is essential for successful interactions with the environment because it can, for example, speed up responses to life-threatening events. It is commonly believed that exogenous attention operates in the retinotopic coordinates of the early visual system. Here, using a novel experimental paradigm [1], we show that a nonretinotopic cue improves both accuracy and reaction times in a visual search task. Furthermore, the influence of the cue is limited both in space and time, a characteristic typical of exogenous cueing. These and other recent findings show that many more aspects of vision are processed nonretinotopically than previously thought.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*