The past, present, and future of selection history. Academic Article uri icon


  • The last ten years of attention research have witnessed a revolution, replacing a theoretical dichotomy (top-down vs. bottom-up control) with a trichotomy (biased by current goals, physical salience, and selection history). This third new mechanism of attentional control, selection history, is multifaceted. Some aspects of selection history must be learned over time whereas others reflect much more transient influences. A variety of different learning experiences can shape the attention system, including reward, aversive outcomes, past experience searching for a target, target‒non-target relations, and more. In this review, we provide an overview of the historical forces that led to the proposal of selection history as a distinct mechanism of attentional control. We then propose a formal definition of selection history, with concrete criteria, and identify different components of experience-driven attention that fit within this definition. The bulk of the review is devoted to exploring how these different components relate to one another. We conclude by proposing an integrative account of selection history centered on underlying themes that emerge from our review.

published proceedings

  • Neurosci Biobehav Rev

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Anderson, B. A., Kim, H., Kim, A. J., Liao, M., Mrkonja, L., Clement, A., & Grégoire, L

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Anderson, Brian A||Kim, Haena||Kim, Andy J||Liao, Ming-Ray||Mrkonja, Lana||Clement, Andrew||Grégoire, Laurent

publication date

  • November 2021