Attention, segregation, and textons: Bridging the gap between object-based attention and texton-based segregation

Ohad Ben-Shahar, Brian J. Scholl, Steven W. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Studies of object-based attention (OBA) have suggested that attentional selection is intimately associated with discrete objects. However, the relationship of this association to the basic visual features ('textons') which guide the segregation of visual scenes into 'objects' remains largely unexplored. Here we study this hypothesized relationship for one of the most conspicuous features of early vision: orientation. To do so we examine how attention spreads through uniform (one 'object') orientation-defined textures (ODTs), and across texture-defined boundaries in discontinuous (two 'objects') ODTs. Using the divided-attention paradigm we find that visual events that are known to trigger orientation-based texture segregation, namely perceptual boundaries defined by high orientation and/or curvature gradients, also induce a significant cost on attentional selection. At the same time we show that no effect is incurred by the absolute value of the textons, i.e., by the general direction (or, the 'grain') of the texture-in conflict with previous findings in the OBA literature. Collectively these experiments begin to reveal the link between object-based attention and texton-based segregation, a link which also offers important cross-disciplinary methodological advantages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-860
Number of pages16
JournalVision Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • Curvature
  • Divided attention
  • Object-based attention
  • Orientation gradients
  • Textons
  • Texture segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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