Rhythmic sampling within and between objects despite sustained attention at a cued location

Ian C. Fiebelkorn, Yuri B. Saalmann, Sabine Kastner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

294 Scopus citations


The brain directs its limited processing resources through various selection mechanisms, broadly referred to as attention. The present study investigated the temporal dynamics of two such selection mechanisms: space- and object-based selection. Previous evidence has demonstrated that preferential processing resulting from a spatial cue (i.e., space-based selection) spreads to uncued locations if those locations are part of the same object (i.e., resulting in object-based selection), but little is known about the relationship between these fundamental selection mechanisms. Here, we used human behavioral data to determine how space- and object-based selection simultaneously evolve under conditions that promote sustained attention at a cued location, varying the cue-to-target interval from 300 to 1100 ms. We tracked visual-target detection at a cued location (i.e., space-based selection), at an uncued location that was part of the same object (i.e., object-based selection), and at an uncued location that was part of a different object (i.e., in the absence of space- and object-based selection). The data demonstrate that even under static conditions, there is a moment-to-moment reweighting of attentional priorities based on object properties. This reweighting is revealed through rhythmic patterns of visual-target detection both within (at 8 Hz) and between (at 4 Hz) objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2553-2558
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 16 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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