Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course


2.6 Summary of Section 2

The results of the visual attention experiments we have considered can be interpreted as follows.

  • Attention can be directed selectively towards different areas of the visual field, without the need to re-focus.

  • The inability to report much detail from brief, masked visual displays appears to be linked to the need to assemble the various information components.

  • The visual information is captured in parallel, but assembly is a serial process.

  • Episodic detail (e.g. colour, position) is vulnerable to the passage of time, or to ‘overwriting’ by a mask.

  • Semantic information (i.e. identity/meaning) is relatively enduring, but does not reach conscious awareness unless bound to the episodic information.

  • Attention, in this context, is the process of binding the information about an item's identity to its particular episodic characteristics.

  • ‘Unbound’ semantic activation can be detected by priming and electrophysiological techniques.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371