Attention and Perceptual Decision Making

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Selective attention has a direct influence on perceptual decision making. This chapter reviews how attention biases or facilitates judgments of sensory stimuli by examining decision-theoretic models, such as the signal detection model and sequential sampling models. These models assume that the processing order of multiple signals is invariant to attentional influence. By contrast, the relative saliency hypothesis suggests that attention affects how multiple signals are accumulated for perceptual decision making. To support this suggestion, studies using Systems Factorial Technology (SFT, Townsend & Nozawa, 1995) are reviewed to examine the impact of attentional manipulations (e.g., spatial cueing, contingency, attentional instruction, payoff) on perceptual decisions in a redundant-target detection task. Results highlight the flexibility of the perceptual decision mechanism, the role of top-down attentional control, and conscious awareness in selecting a decision strategy to optimize detection performance. Finally, the concept of processing capacity is discussed in relation to attentional capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystems Factorial Technology
Subtitle of host publicationA Theory Driven Methodology for the Identification of Perceptual and Cognitive Mechanisms
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780128043868
ISBN (Print)9780128043158
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 7

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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