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Most studies of visual attention have used indirect manual reaction time measures to make inferences about where processing priority is allocated in the scene. Eye tracking offers an important opportunity to probe more directly where attention is deployed, in both health and disease. Here we provide a selective overview of oculomotor investigations which have demonstrated how attention can be captured "bottom-up" by conspicuous elements in the scene as well as how it can be allocated "top-down" on the basis of task goals and reward outcomes. We consider the concept of salience maps within the brain that might be responsible for computing attentional priorities and saccade targets in the visual scene, discussing the evidence for their existence. Finally, we consider how one supposedly crucial role of attention--that of binding features which belong to an object--might operate so that object representations are veridically maintained and remapped across eye movements.

Original publication




Journal article


Prog Brain Res

Publication Date





403 - 411


Attention, Brain Mapping, Eye Movements, Humans, Visual Perception