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The Treisman Bartlett lecture, reported in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology in 1988, provided a major overview of the feature integration theory of attention. This has continued to be a dominant account of human visual attention to this day. The current paper provides a summary of the work reported in the lecture and an update on critical aspects of the theory as applied to visual object perception. The paper highlights the emergence of findings that pose significant challenges to the theory and which suggest that revisions are required that allow for (a) several rather than a single form of feature integration, (b) some forms of feature integration to operate preattentively, (c) stored knowledge about single objects and interactions between objects to modulate perceptual integration, (d) the application of feature-based inhibition to object files where visual features are specified, which generates feature-based spreading suppression and scene segmentation, and (e) a role for attention in feature confirmation rather than feature integration in visual selection. A feature confirmation account of attention in object perception is outlined.

Original publication




Journal article


Q J Exp Psychol (Hove)

Publication Date





1910 - 1940


Attention, Binding, Feature integration, Neuropsychology, Attention, History, 20th Century, History, 21st Century, Humans, Psychology, Experimental, Visual Perception