Attention-referenced visual representations: Evidence from impaired visual localization

Michael McCloskey, Brenda Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Spatial representations in the visual system were probed in 4 experiments involving A. H., a woman with a developmental deficit in localizing visual stimuli. Previous research (M. McCloskey et al., 1995) has shown that A. H.'s localization errors take the form of reflections across a central vertical or horizontal axis (e.g., a stimulus 30° to her left localized to a position 30° to her right). The present experiments demonstrate that A. H.'s errors vary systematically as a function of where her attention is focused, independent of how her eyes, head, or body are oriented, or what potential reference points are present in the visual field. These results suggest that the normal visual system constructs attention-referenced spatial representations, in which the focus of attention defines the origin of a spatial coordinate system. A more general implication is that some of the brain's spatial representations take the form of coordinate systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-933
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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