Selection, Engagement, & Enhancement: A Framework for Modeling Visual Attention


This paper presents a theoretical framework for modeling human visual attention. The framework’s core claim is that three mechanisms drive attention: selection, which picks out an item for further processing; engagement, which tags a selected item as relevant or irrelevant to the current task; and enhancement, which increases sensitivity to task-relevant items and decreases sensitivity to task-irrelevant items. Building on these mechanisms, the framework is able to explain human performance on attentionally demanding tasks like visual search and multiple object tracking, and it supports a broad range of predictions about the interactions between such tasks.

In Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Will Bridewell
Will Bridewell
Research Scientist in Artificial Intelligence

My research interests include the relationship between attention, cognition, and intentional action.