The concept of attention has been used to describe many different cognitive processes and functions. Our research has shown that we do not have a single attentional mechanism, but rather several different mechanisms that operate in different ways within different cognitive systems. Our research seeks to define and understand the different mechanisms, both at the cognitive and neural levels.  We focus mainly on the operation of attention within vision, because our knowledge of the anatomy, physiology, and function of the visual system provides solid footing for understanding how attention operates.  Current topics of research include:

  • The active suppression of distracting inputs
  • Control of attention by working memory representations
  • Role of attention in perceptual decision-making
  • Neural mechanisms of the control and implementation of selection
  • Links between attention, emotion, and anxiety
  • Development of attentional control in infancy

Key Publications

(Grad students and postdocs shown in boldface)

  • Luck, S. J., & Hillyard, S. A. (1994b). Spatial filtering during visual search:  Evidence from human electrophysiology. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 20, 1000-1014.
  • Luck, S. J., Vogel, E. K., & Shapiro, K. L. (1996). Word meanings can be accessed but not reported during the attentional blink. Nature, 382, 616-618.
  • Luck, S. J., Girelli, M., McDermott, M. T., & Ford, M. A. (1997). Bridging the gap between monkey neurophysiology and human perception: An ambiguity resolution theory of visual selective attention. Cognitive Psychology, 33, 64-87.
  • Woodman, G. F., & Luck, S. J. (1999). Electrophysiological measurement of rapid shifts of attention during visual search. Nature, 400, 867-869.
  • Woodman, G. F., & Luck, S. J. (2003). Serial deployment of attention during visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Human Perception and Performance, 29, 121-138.
  • Hopf, J.-M., Luck, S. J., Boelmans, K., Schoenfeld, M. A., Boehler, N., Rieger, J., & Heinze, H.-J. (2006). The neural site of attention matches the spatial scale of perception. Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 3532-3540.
  • Luck, S. J., & Gold, J. M. (2008a). The construct of attention in schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry, 64, 34-39.
  • Zhang, W., & Luck, S. J. (2009). Feature-based attention modulates feedforward visual processing. Nature Neuroscience, 12, 24-25.
  • Sawaki, R., & Luck, S. J. (2010). Capture versus suppression of attention by salient singletons: Electrophysiological evidence for an automatic attend-to-me signal. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72, 1455-1470.
  • Ross-Sheehy, S., Oakes, L. M., & Luck, S. J. (2011). Exogenous attention influences visual short-term memory in infants. Developmental Science, 14, 490-501.
  • Beck, V. M., Hollingworth, A., & Luck, S. J. (2012). Simultaneous Control of Attention by Multiple Working Memory Representations. Psychological Science, 23, 887-898.
  • Bacigalupo, F., & Luck, S. J. (2015). The allocation of attention and working memory in visual crowding. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 1180-1193.
  • Gaspelin, N., Leonard, C. J., & Luck, S. J. (2015). Direct Evidence for Active Suppression of Salient-but-Irrelevant Sensory Inputs. Psychological Science, 26, 1740-1750.
  • Gaspelin, N., & Luck, S. J. (2018). The Role of Inhibition in Avoiding Distraction by Salient Stimuli Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22, 79-92.