How attention helps the brain perceive an object

LA JOLLA?It?s easy to miss something you?re not looking for. In a famous example, people were asked to closely observe two groups of people?one group clad in black, the other in white?pass a ball among themselves. Viewers were asked to count the number of times the ball passed from black to white. Remarkably, most observers did not notice a man in a gorilla suit, walking among the players. This ability of the brain to ignore extraneous visual information is critical to how we work and function, but the processes governing perception and attention are not fully understood. Scientists have long theorized that attention to a particular object can alter perception by amplifying certain neuronal activity and suppressing the activity of other neurons (brain ?noise?).

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