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Visual Attention Drawn to Meaning, Not What Stands Out

Findings by John Henderson Overturn Widely Held Ideas of Visual Attention

Our visual attention is drawn to parts of a scene that have meaning, rather than to those that are salient or “stick out,” according to new research from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis. The findings, published Sept. 25 in the journal Nature Human Behavior, overturn the widely-held model of visual attention.

“A lot of people will have to rethink things,” said psychology professor John Henderson, who led the research. “The saliency hypothesis really is the dominant view.”

Read more about the study and listen to a podcast.