Cuing covert spatial attention can increase spatial resolution. Here we pinpointed the specific locus of this effect using texture segmentation. At the level of visual cortex, texture segmentation theoretically involves passage of visual input through two layers of spatial linear filters separated by a pointwise nonlinearity. By manipulating the textures to differentially stimulate first- or second-order filters of various scales, we showed that the attentional effect consistently varied with the latter. These psychophysical results further support the hypothesis that attention increases resolution at the attended location and are consistent with an effect of attention at stages as early as the primary visual cortex.
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