Traditionally, research on visual attention has been focused on the processes involved in conscious, explicit selection of task-relevant sensory input. Recently, however, it has been shown that attending to a specific feature of an object automatically increases neural sensitivity to this feature throughout the visual field. Here we show that directing attention to a specific color of an object results in attentional modulation of the processing of task-irrelevant and not consciously perceived motion signals that are spatiotemporally associated with this color throughout the visual field. Such implicit cross-feature spreading of attention takes place according to the veridical physical associations between the color and motion signals, even under special circumstances when they are perceptually misbound. These results imply that the units of implicit attentional selection are spatiotemporally colocalized feature clusters that are automatically bound throughout the visual field.
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