Emerging representations in visual cognition: It’s about time

Wieske van Zoest, Amelia R. Hunt, Alan Kingstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Visual cognition relies on changing representations of visual information. The dynamic nature of representations is demonstrated by new findings in human perception and attention showing that the influence of specific aspects of a stimulus on behavior changes dramatically over time. As a consequence, performance depends on what point in time responses are measured. Specifically, quick responses to early representations of a new scene are heavily influenced by the relative salience of different stimuli in the visual field. Slow responses based on later representations of the same scene are informed by more complex information that integrates prior knowledge and observer goals. Thus, as a result of the dynamic nature of representations, the kind of information that is prioritized depends on the moment in time the representation is accessed. Examining how representations change over time can lead to new and important insights in a wide range of domains of human cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • attention and perception
  • dynamics
  • visual representations


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