Object recognition: covert and overt attention to distinguishing features

Orit Baruch, Ruth Kimchi, Morris Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


It was previously demonstrated that in the course of object recognition attention is directed to distinguishing features—those that are diagnostic of object identity (Baruch, Kimchi & Goldsmith, 2012). Here we examined whether this deployment of attention is covert or overt. Observers performed a recognition task with artificial fish such that fish identity had to be determined by two features.
Differences in allocation of attention to distinguishing and non-distinguishing features were examined using both eye-tracking and a visual probe detection paradigm. We found that in most trials, throughout the trial, eye gaze remained at the center of the object and that probe detection was superior for probes
presented at the location of the distinguishing features. These results indicate that object recognition can be achieved by the deployment of covert attention to distinguishing features. When eye movements were observed, fixations were found more often next to distinguishing than to non-distinguishing features, further confirming the role of attention (covert or overt) to distinguishing features in the object recognition process.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


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