How visual spatial attention alters perception

Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Visual attention is essential for visual perception. Spatial attention allows us to grant priority in processing and selectively process information at a given location. In this paper, I explain how two kinds of spatial attention: covert (allocated to the target location, without accompanying eye movements) and presaccadic (allocated to the location of the upcoming saccade’s target) affect performance and alter appearance. First, I highlight some behavioral and neuroimaging research on covert attention, which alters performance and appearance in many basic visual tasks. Second, I review studies showing that presaccadic attention improves performance and alters appearance at the saccade target location. Further, these modulations change the processing of feature information automatically, even when it is detrimental to the task at hand. We propose that saccade preparation may support transsaccadic integration. Systematically investigating the common and differential characteristics of covert attention and presaccadic attention will continue to further our understanding of the pervasive selective processing of information, which enables us to make sense of our complex visual world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-88
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Processing
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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