Effects of prior presentation of a drawing to the left or right visual field on matching performance and lexical decision in neglect patients. Data from McGlinchey-Berroth et al. (1993).

The most influential approach to visual search is the feature integration theory put forward by Treisman (eg., 1988, 1992). She drew a distinction between the features of objects (e.g., colour, size, lines of particular orientation) and the objects themselves. Her theory based on this distinction includes the following assumptions:

• There is a rapid initial parallel process in which the visual features of objects in the environment are processed together; this is not dependent on attention.

• There is then a serial process in which features are combined to form objects.

• The serial process is slower than the initial parallel process, especially when the set size is large.

• Features can be combined by focused attending to the location of the object, in which case focused attention provides the "glue" forming unitary objects from the available features.

• Feature combination can be influenced by stored knowledge (e.g., bananas are usually yellow).

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