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Rapid natural scene categorization in the near absence of attention

Li, Fei Fei and VanRullen, Rufin and Koch, Christof and Perona, Pietro (2002) Rapid natural scene categorization in the near absence of attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99 (14). pp. 9596-9601. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC123186. doi:10.1073/pnas.092277599.

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What can we see when we do not pay attention? It is well known that we can be "blind" even to major aspects of natural scenes when we attend elsewhere. The only tasks that do not need attention appear to be carried out in the early stages of the visual system. Contrary to this common belief, we report that subjects can rapidly detect animals or vehicles in briefly presented novel natural scenes while simultaneously performing another attentionally demanding task. By comparison, they are unable to discriminate large T's from L's, or bisected two-color disks from their mirror images under the same conditions. We conclude that some visual tasks associated with "high-level" cortical areas may proceed in the near absence of attention.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle CentralPubMed Article
VanRullen, Rufin0000-0002-3611-7716
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Perona, Pietro0000-0002-7583-5809
Additional Information:© 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. Communicated by David Mumford, Brown University, Providence, RI, May 8, 2002 (received for review March 22, 2002). Published online before print June 20, 2002. We thank J. Braun, F. Crick, L. Chelazzi, G. Kreiman, and P. Wilken for critical comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation-sponsored Engineering Research Center at Caltech, the National Institutes of Health, the Keck Foundation, and the McDonnell Foundation. F.F.L. is supported by the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. R.V.R. is supported by a Caltech Fellowship.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
James S. McDonnell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Paul and Daisy Soros FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:selective attention, visual-cortex, discrimination, vision, stimuli, speed, representation, recognition, perception, mechanisms
Issue or Number:14
PubMed Central ID:PMC123186
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:LIFpnas02
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Fei Fei Li, Rufin VanRullen, Christof Koch, and Pietro Perona. Rapid natural scene categorization in the near absence of attention PNAS 2002 99 (14) 9596-9601; published ahead of print June 20, 2002, doi:10.1073/pnas.092277599
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:967
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Nov 2005
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 19:06

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