Visually guided attention is neutralized when informative cues are visible but unperceived

Jeffrey D. Schall, Mark Nawrot, Randolph Blake, Karen Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The ability to voluntarily shift the focus of visual attention away from the focus of gaze was investigated in a novel paradigm designed to elaborate the stages of processing underlying this ability. A basic experimental method used to investigate guided visual attention involves measuring response times to targets presented at positions of which the observer has been informed by an orienting cue. Binocular rivalry was utilized to dissociate presentation of the orienting cue from visual awareness of that cue. The findings indicated that when an informative cue was presented to an eye during the dominance phase, thus reaching visual awareness, manual response times were significantly affected by cue validity. In contrast, when the same cue was presented to an eye during suppression, and thus was not seen by observers, response times were not influenced by cue validity. We conclude that to guide attention, neural signals registering informative visual cues must be processed at stages lying beyond the site of rivalry suppression. Implications for investigating the neural basis of visual attention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2057-2064
Number of pages8
JournalVision research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention Directed attention Visual attention Vision Binocular rivalry Binocular ppression Response time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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