Visual attention and coactivation of response decisions for features from different dimensions

Uri Feintuch*, Asher Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The role of visual attention in task performance has been extensively debated. On the basis of the dimensional-action model, we hypothesized that a major role of attention is to transfer response decisions from targets on which it is focused to high-level centers dealing with response execution. This hypothesis predicts that response decisions for two targets will interact only when attention is focused on both targets, and only when the response to the targets is defined by different dimensions. Three experiments, using the redundancy-gain paradigm, tested and confirmed this prediction. Experiment 1 showed that coactivation of two cross-dimensional targets occurred only when the targets were positioned in the same location, not when they were in separate locations. Experiment 2 manipulated the focus of attention and showed that coactivation can occur even for targets positioned in different locations if they are both within the attentional focus. Experiment 3 showed that this attention-induced coactivation does not occur for targets from the same dimensional module. These results suggest that a major role of attention is postperceptual and involves gating of selected responses to executive functions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Jim Enns, Pierre Jolicoeur, Tim Rickard, and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments. This study was supported by a grant from the Israel Foundations Trustees to U.F., and by a grant from the Israel Science Foundations to A.C.


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