On the precision of goal-directed attentional selection. Academic Article uri icon


  • Attention selects objects in a scene for cognitive processing. A growing body of evidence has been used to argue that observers are able to narrowly restrict attentional selection to stimuli that match a feature-based target template while ignoring similar-looking distractors. For example, visual search for a target among feature-similar nontargets is highly efficient. Here, I demonstrate that observers are substantially impaired at selecting a target among feature-similar nontargets when stimuli are compared with a target template serially in time. The results argue that goal-directed attentional selection is distinctly imprecise, and that comparing stimuli with a target template reflects an inefficient mechanism of selection that cannot fully explain visual search performance under demanding conditions.

published proceedings

  • J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Anderson, B. A.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Anderson, Brian A

publication date

  • October 2014