One of the most important and controversial topics in the field of visual attention is the nature of the units of attentional selection. Traditional models have characterized attention in spatial terms, as a "spotlight" that moves around the visual field, applying processing resources to whatever falls within that spatial region. Recent models of attention, in contrast, suggest that in some cases the underlying units of selection are discrete visual objects and that attention may be limited by the number of objects that can be simultaneously selected.
Objects and Attention explores the idea that attention and objecthood are intimately and importantly related. In addition to reviewing the evidence for object-based attention and exploring what can "count" as an object of attention, it examines how such issues relate to other sensory modalities, such as auditory objects of attention, and to other areas of cognitive science, such as the infant's object concept. The book has applications to work in experimental cognitive psychology, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience, philosophy of mind, developmental psychology, computer modelling, and the psychology of audition.