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Beyond Space-based or Feature-based Selection: Mechanisms of Object-based Attention

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We interact with a constantly changing environment, where our sensory systems are bombarded by an overwhelming amount of information. Our brain, however, has a limited computational capacity and at any given time we can process only a limited amount of information. Mechanisms of attention allow us to optimize ...

We interact with a constantly changing environment, where our sensory systems are bombarded by an overwhelming amount of information. Our brain, however, has a limited computational capacity and at any given time we can process only a limited amount of information. Mechanisms of attention allow us to optimize the limited capacity of our sensory systems by prioritizing the processing of behaviorally relevant sensory information.

Psychophysical, physiological and non-invasive imaging studies have examined the mechanisms underlying the attentional selection of particular spatial locations or of particular features in considerable detail. Our perceptual experience is, however, not one of disjoint features at different spatial locations, but one of features integrated into unitary object representation that can serve as the goal of our actions. Over the past two decades it has become increasingly clear that attentional selection can allow for the prioritized processing not only of locations or features, but also of entire objects, such that if one feature of an object is selected, other features of that object also receive prioritized processing. Relative to spatial and featural selection, however, little is known regarding the mechanisms underlying such selection.

This Research Topic will examine psychophysical, physiological and non-invasive imaging methods that have been used to disentangle object-based selection from feature-based or space-based selection. We will examine what such studies suggest regarding the role of early versus late stage mechanisms in object-specific processing and what correspondences exist between animal models and work conducted in humans.

Contributions should include Original Research articles focusing on behavioral, neuronal or modeling studies, as well as Reviews, Theories, or Opinion Pieces. These contributions will frame our current understanding as well as identify unresolved questions, and highlight conceptual and/or methodological issues and advances that can serve to guide the direction of future research.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be in line with the scope of the specialty and field to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Manuscripts discovered during any stage of peer review to be outside of the scope may be transferred to a suitable section or field, or withdrawn from review.

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