Tests of a Temporal Theory of Attentional Binding

Steven W. Keele*, Asher Cohen, Richard Ivry, Mario Liotti, Penny Yee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Different features of stimuli present in the field of view appear to be registered in different cortical maps. How, then, are the features that come from the same object bound together rather than mistakenly assembled with features coming from other simultaneously present objects? One theory supposes that an attentional mechanism intercepts input coming from particular retinal locations at a way station prior to parsing of the features from the same object. Any enhancement (or facilitation) at that stage will cause all the features from that object to be modified simultaneously in the downstream registers. The imposed temporal synchronicity serves as the essential binding cue. Five experiments provided no support for the theory. There is no tendency for synchronicity of features to cause binding unless the features come from the same location. Location, rather than temporal synchronicity, appears to be the essential cue for binding.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)444-452
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1988
Externally publishedYes


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