Automatic and voluntary focusing of attention

Massimo Turatto, Francesco Benso, Andrea Facoetti, Giovanni Galfano, Gian Gastone Mascetti, Carlo Umiltà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, we investigate whether attentional focusing, like attentional orienting, comprises two independent mechanisms. We provide direct empirical evidence in favor of the existence of two mechanisms - one exogenous, or automatic, and one endogenous, or voluntary - that play a role in adjusting the size of the focus of attention. When a new object suddenly occurs in the visual field, the focus is first automatically fitted to it, and then an endogenous effort has to be exerted to maintain attention in the focused mode. Also, we provide evidence that voluntary focusing needs a perceptual object in order to operate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-952
Number of pages18
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Automatic and voluntary focusing of attention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Turatto, M., Benso, F., Facoetti, A., Galfano, G., Mascetti, G. G., & Umiltà, C. (2000). Automatic and voluntary focusing of attention. Perception and Psychophysics, 62(5), 935-952.