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Principles of Visual Attention:Linking Mind and Brain$
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Claus Bundesen and Thomas Habekost

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198570707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198570707.001.0001

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A psychological theory of visual attention (TVA)

A psychological theory of visual attention (TVA)

(p.41) 3 A psychological theory of visual attention (TVA)
Principles of Visual Attention:

Claus Bundesen

Thomas Habekost

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the theory of visual attention (TVA). It begins with a review of choice models for visual recognition (categorization) and for visual search (partial report). Roughly speaking, these models are non-process models; they provide descriptive equations with strong empirical constraints, but make little or no attempt to specify the temporal course of the information processing underlying performance. It then considers a race model for selection from multi-element displays. The race model is a process model; it specifies temporal characteristics of processing. Further, the race model is perfectly consistent with the descriptive-choice model for visual search, which can simply be derived from it mathematically. Finally, the unified theory of visual recognition and attentional selection (TVA) is developed by integrating choice models for recognition into the race model framework. In a mathematical sense, TVA includes the previous models as special cases, and hence inherits their success in accounting for empirical findings. TVA is not only a process model, but is also computational; it specifies the computations by which selection is supposed to be done.

Keywords:   choice models, visual recognition, visual search, race model, attentional selection

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