A restricted 'spotlight' of attention in visual object recognition

Marianna E. Stark*, Jordan Grafman, Evan Fertig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We describe a patient (NJ), with a progressive visual disturbance, who showed an impairment in identifying larger visually-presented objects relative to their smaller counterparts. NJ showed this size effect for line drawings of objects, words and single letters. When presented with large letters comprised of smaller letters and asked to give speeded identification responses to either the large or small letters, NJ was grossly impaired at identifying the large letter. Additionally, when presented with a context meant to bias responding to either the large or small letter, NJ showed faster and more accurate responding in the small direction, but not in the large direction. We interpret these results as indicative of an impaired 'spotlight' of attention, which is deployed across the visual array, and is necessary for providing the selective visual attention responsible for the integration of visual features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1249
Number of pages17
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Object recognition
  • Restricted visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'A restricted 'spotlight' of attention in visual object recognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this