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Feature-based attention modulates feedforward visual processing


It is widely believed that attention selects locations at an earlier stage than it selects nonspatial features, but this has been tested only under conditions of minimal competition. We found that, when competition was increased, color-based attention was able to influence the feedforward flow of information in humans within 100 ms of stimulus onset, even for stimuli presented at unattended locations. Thus, color-based attention can operate as early as, and independently from, spatial attention.

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Figure 1: Experimental design.
Figure 2: Grand average waveforms at contralateral occipital electrode sites.


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This work was made possible by a grant from US National Institute of Mental Health to S.J.L.

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Authors and Affiliations



W.Z. and S.J.L. conceptualized and designed the experiments. W.Z. collected the data and performed the data analyses. W.Z. and S.J.L. wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Weiwei Zhang.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1 and 2, Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Results and Supplementary Discussion (PDF 6610 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

Example of a trial from Experiment 1a. (MOV 651 kb)

Supplementary Video 2

Example of a trial from Experiment 1b. (MOV 749 kb)

Supplementary Video 3

Example of a trial from Experiment 2. (MOV 790 kb)

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Zhang, W., Luck, S. Feature-based attention modulates feedforward visual processing. Nat Neurosci 12, 24–25 (2009).

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