Biased-competition accounts of attentional processing propose that attention arises from distributed interactions within and among different types of perceptual representations (e.g., spatial, featural, and object-based). Although considerable research has examined the facilitation in processing afforded by attending selectively to spatial locations, or to features, or to objects, surprisingly little research has addressed a key prediction of the biased-competition account: that attending to any stimulus should give rise to simultaneous interactions across all the types of perceptual representations encompassed by that stimulus. Here we show that, when an object in a visual display is cued, space-, feature-, and object-based forms of attention interact to enhance processing of that object and to create a scene-wide pattern of attentional facilitation. These results provide evidence to support the biased-competition framework and suggest that attention might be thought of as a mechanism by which multiple, disparate bottom-up, and even top-down, visual perceptual representations are coordinated and preferentially enhanced.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marlene_behrmann/11/