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Visual cognition is limited by computational capacity, because the brain can process only a fraction of the visual sensorium in detail, and by the inherent ambiguity of the information entering the visual system. Two mechanisms mitigate these burdens: attention prioritizes stimulus processing on the basis of motivational relevance, and expectations constrain visual interpretation on the basis of prior likelihood. Of the two, attention has been extensively investigated while expectation has been relatively neglected. Here, we review recent work that has begun to delineate a neurobiology of visual expectation, and contrast the findings with those of the attention literature, to explore how these two central influences on visual perception overlap, differ and interact.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.tics.2009.06.003

Type

Journal article

Journal

Trends Cogn Sci

Publication Date

09/2009

Volume

13

Pages

403 - 409

Keywords

Animals, Attention, Brain Mapping, Cognition, Humans, Motivation, Photic Stimulation, Visual Cortex, Visual Pathways, Visual Perception