Inhibition Drives Early Feature-Based Attention

Jeff Moher*, Balaji M. Lakshmanan, Howard E. Egeth, Joshua B. Ewen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Attention can modulate processing of visual input according to task-relevant features, even as early as approximately 100 ms after stimulus presentation. In the present study, event-related potential and behavioral data revealed that inhibition of distractor features, rather than activation of target features, is the primary driver of early feature-based selection in human observers. This discovery of inhibition consistent with task goals during early visual processing suggests that inhibition plays a much larger role at an earlier stage of target selection than previously recognized. It also highlights the importance of understanding the role of inhibition (in addition to activation) in attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • event-related potentials
  • evoked potentials
  • feature-based attention
  • inhibition
  • visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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