Intrusive effects of task-irrelevant information on visual selective attention: semantics and size

Sarah Shomstein, George L. Malcolm, Joseph C. Nah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Attentional selection is a mechanism by which incoming sensory information is prioritized for further, detailed and more effective, processing. Given that attended information is privileged by the sensory system, understanding and predicting what information is granted prioritization becomes an important endeavor. It has been argued that salient events as well as information that is related to the current goal of the organism (i.e., task-relevant) receive such priority. Here, we propose that attentional prioritization is not limited to task-relevance, and discuss evidence showing that task-irrelevant, non-salient, high-level properties of unattended objects, namely object meaning and size, influence attentional allocation. Such intrusion of non-salient task-irrelevant high-level information points to the need to re-conceptualize and formally modify current models of attentional guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Early online date22 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Cite this