Effects of attention on visual experience during monocular rivalry

Vision Res. 2013 May 3;83:76-81. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Mar 13.


There is a long-running debate over the extent to which volitional attention can modulate the appearance of visual stimuli. Here we use monocular rivalry between afterimages to explore the effects of attention on the contents of visual experience. In three experiments, we demonstrate that attended afterimages are seen for longer periods, on average, than unattended afterimages. This occurs both when a feature of the afterimage is attended directly and when a frame surrounding the afterimage is attended. The results of these experiments show that volitional attention can dramatically influence the contents of visual experience.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afterimage / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Dominance, Ocular / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Vision, Monocular / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult