Stimulus-driven capture and contingent capture

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Whether or not certain physical events can capture attention has been one of the most debated issues in the study of attention. This discussion is concerned with how goal-directed and stimulus-driven processes interact in perception and cognition. On one extreme of the spectrum is the idea that attention capture is primarily stimulus driven and automatic. On the other end is the notion that attention capture is always contingent on the goals of the observer, and thus under top-down control. This review discusses the empirical evidence for each of these viewpoints and the theoretical consequences. In addition, there is a discussion of the issues that remain controversial within the debate between the two viewpoints. It is concluded that visual selection depends on the interaction between bottom-up and top-down processes with a special role for spatial attention as the top-down gatekeeper for attention capture. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-881
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. Cognitive Science
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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