Recent studies have shown evidence for modulation of cortical activity by attention in visual areas involved in motion processing. Behavioural effects of this modulation have only been reported for high-order, but not for luminance-based motion. We show that attentional load can even affect the perception of a first-order motion inducing a short-termed motion blindness. The detection of transient coherent motion embedded in a rapid serial visual presentation was severely impaired if colour features were to be processed simultaneously. The findings reported here show attentional requirements can affect motion perception. This effect can not be explained by motion adaptation or priming and may instead arise from the suppression of irrelevant stimuli. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.