Journal of Computational Neuroscience

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 231–253 | Cite as

A Neurodynamical Model of Visual Attention: Feedback Enhancement of Spatial Resolution in a Hierarchical System

  • Gustavo Deco
  • Josef Zihl


Human beings have the capacity to recognize objects in natural visual scenes with high efficiency despite the complexity of such scenes, which usually contain multiple objects. One possible mechanism for dealing with this problem is selective attention. Psychophysical evidence strongly suggests that selective attention can enhance the spatial resolution in the input region corresponding to the focus of attention. In this work we adopt a computational neuroscience perspective to analyze the attentional enhancement of spatial resolution in the area containing the objects of interest. We extend and apply the computational model of Deco and Schürmann (2000), which consists of several modules with feedforward and feedback interconnections describing the mutual links between different areas of the visual cortex. Each module analyses the visual input with different spatial resolution and can be thought of as a hierarchical predictor at a given level of resolution. Moreover, each hierarchical predictor has a submodule that consists of a group of neurons performing a biologically based 2D Gabor wavelet transformation at a given resolution level. The attention control decides in which local regions the spatial resolution should be enhanced in a serial fashion. In this sense, the scene is first analyzed at a coarse resolution level, and the focus of attention enhances iteratively the resolution at the location of an object until the object is identified. We propose and simulate new psychophysical experiments where the effect of the attentional enhancement of spatial resolution can be demonstrated by predicting different reaction time profiles in visual search experiments where the target and distractors are defined at different levels of resolution.

global precedence resolution hypothesis visual attention visual search 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo Deco
    • 1
  • Josef Zihl
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Siemens AG, Corporate TechnologyMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Psychology, NeuropsychologyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute of PsychiatryMunichGermany

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