Although attention can be purely reactive, like when we react to an unexpected event, in most cases, attention is under deliberate control anticipating events in the world. Directing attention and preparing for action takes time, and it is thus useful to be able to predict where an important event will occur in the environment and direct attention to it even before it happens. Another reason for the need for anticipation is the processing delays in the visuomotor system. In the human system it takes at least 100 ms to detect a visual target (Lamme and Roelfsema, 2000) and to just look at a moving object, we need to anticipate its movement to control the muscles of the eyes to move our gaze to the location where the target will be (von Hofsten and Rosander, 1997).
The role of anticipation in attention can also be seen in the close connection between attention and action (Balkenius, 2000).
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