Top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in biasing competition in the human brain

Diane M. Beck, Sabine Kastner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

328 Scopus citations


The biased competition theory of selective attention has been an influential neural theory of attention, motivating numerous animal and human studies of visual attention and visual representation. There is now neural evidence in favor of all three of its most basic principles: that representation in the visual system is competitive; that both top-down and bottom-up biasing mechanisms influence the ongoing competition; and that competition is integrated across brain systems. We review the evidence in favor of these three principles, and in particular, findings related to six more specific neural predictions derived from these original principles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1165
Number of pages12
JournalVision Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 2 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sensory Systems
  • Ophthalmology


  • Bias
  • Brain
  • Suppression
  • Visual attention
  • fMRI


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