Rapid Shifts of Attention in Human Brain

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Fri Sep 10 21:31:42 EST 1999

MUCH BELATED COMMENT (very busy with other things; first look at
newsgroup in several weeks):

As usual, "the devil is in the details"--and in the definitions.

Haven't seen the original article, but this interesting finding must be
looked at in proper context (or perspective, or whatever).  Key terms
are "attention is focused", "objects" and "complex images", and I would
have to review their procedure and their discussion to see if they have
or claim to have refuted prior findings re distinction between
"attentive" and "pre-attentive" mechanisms.

For very simple "objects" in a field of other (but different) simple
"objects", serial examination is not necessary for detection, seeming
to "leap out" into our awareness, i.e. a "pre-attentive" process.  More
complex objects (defined in more than one dimension, sharing features
in one or more of these dimensions with other objects in the array)
require "attentive", "effortful" serial inspection for detection.

Putting the emphasis on the term "attention" and/or "focus", one has to
consider their findings in the context of very extensive evidence for
parallel processing of many components of "objects".  I think there is
reason to believe that some INFORMATION about each "complex object" in
the visual field is already traveling down several pipelines before
"attention is focused" on object number one, during the jump to object
number two, and so on.

I think it is also fair to say that while one cannot claim that several
"objects" are thereby "attended to" simultaneously, one can argue that
this complex concurrent activity has some influence on subsequent
perception of serially "attended" objects.

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group

>John <johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au> wrote in message
>news:936441349.953994 at server.australia.net.au...
>> Rapid Shifts of Attention in Human Brain
>> --
>> Geoffrey F. Woodman, a UI graduate student, and Steven J. Luck, a UI
>> associate professor of psychology, have found that when humans look
>> collections of objects, attention is focused on a single object at a
>> and moves from one object to the next in about a tenth of a second.
>> research is published in the August 26 issue of the journal Nature.
>> --
>> Woodman and Luck are the first to show definitively that the human
>> processes complex images serially - attending to only one object at
a time
>> but shifting rapid from object to object.
>> --
>> http://www.newswise.com/articles/1999/8/VISION.UIA.html
>> --

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