Spatial attention alters visual appearance

Marisa Carrasco, Antoine Barbot

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


It is well established that attention improves performance on many visual tasks. However, for more than 100 years, psychologists, philosophers, and neurophysiologists have debated its phenomenology—whether attention actually changes one's subjective experience. Here, we show that it is possible to objectively and quantitatively investigate the effects of attention on subjective experience. First, we review evidence showing that attention alters the appearance of many static and dynamic basic visual dimensions, which mediate changes in appearance of higher-level perceptual aspects. Then, we summarize current views on how attention alters appearance. These findings have implications for our understanding of perception and attention, illustrating that attention affects not only how we perform in visual tasks, but actually alters our experience of the visual world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial attention alters visual appearance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this