Anne Treisman investigated many aspects of perception, and in particular the roles of different forms of attention. Four aspects of her work are reviewed here, including visual search, set mean perception, perception in special populations, and binocular rivalry. The importance of the breakthrough in each case is demonstrated. Search is easy or slow depending on whether it depends on the application of global or focused attention. Mean perception depends on global attention and affords simultaneous representation of the means of at least two sets of elements, and then of comparing them. Deficits exhibited in Balint’s or unilateral neglect patients identify basic sensory system mechanisms. And, the ability to integrate binocular information for stereopsis despite simultaneous binocular rivalry for color, demonstrates the division of labor underlying visual system computations. All these studies are related to an appreciation of the difference between perceiving the gist of a scene, its elements or objects, versus perceiving the details of the scene and its components. This relationship between Anne Treisman’s revolutionary discoveries and the concept of gist perception is the core of the current review.
Year of publication
Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, Vol. 81(8), 1-10